Pakistan among Top 10 Worst Countries for Internet Freedom
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is among the 10 worst countries along with Iran and China on the index of internet freedom, according to a global survey released today.
Freedom House released its ‘Freedom on the Internet 2014’ report, which surveyed 65 countries and listed the index on obstacles to internet access, limits placed on internet content, and violations of internet user rights. It showed Pakistan at 10th position, one step down from the 11th worst in 2013, an increase in the restrictions imposed on the internet.
Its gradual fall during the past four years continues when it was 13th from the bottom in 2011. Majority among the top ten worst countries are from Asia, including Iran, Syria, China, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Only Cuba and Ethiopia are two others non-Asian among the top ten, placed at fourth and fifth positions.
The report cites cases of internet abuse in 2014 including killing of three persons for being gay by a man who used social media to identify their sexual orientation. It says a judge in Punjab sentenced a Christian couple to death for blasphemy in relation to a text message they deny sending, while a lawyer defending a professor for alleged blasphemous FaceBook post was killed.
The report shows that the limitations on content were unchanged and the popular video-sharing YouTube remained blocked on government orders since September 2012.
Nighat Daad of the Digital Rights Foundation, which collaborated in the preparation of report, said internet censorship does not augur well for the democratic system of the country. “Pervasive and increased government control on the internet whether in form of censorship or with new surveillance tactics, is limiting freedom of expression and amplifying self-censorship among the internet users in Pakistan,” she said.