Free Speech Advocates Challenge Govt’s Justification of X Ban

In a recent statement, the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) rejected the government’s rationale linking national security threats with the suspension of social media platform X. A day earlier, the Ministry of Interior defended the X ban by terming the microblogging platform as a “threat to peace and national security”. The popular microblogging platform X has been banned in Pakistan for more than 5 months now. The free speech proponents and human rights advocates have denounced the ban and called it a violation of fundamental rights.

The PPF maintained that even if the government’s claim about safety holds ground, “they do not justify the complete closure of the platform without any clear timeline or process for when such a ban could be lifted”.

It also asked the authorities to conduct meaningful engagements with stakeholders, which also include civil society organizations, before taking any decision. “We also urge X to engage with Pakistani stakeholders, including the civil society and state authori­ties, to address their concerns,” the statement added.

In another development, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) Presi­dent Afzal Butt and Sec­retary General Arshad Ansari lauded the Kenyan High Court’s decision to grant compensation to the family of Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif, who was murdered by the country’s police near Nairobi in 2022.

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