Internet freedom is facing a lot of hurdles in today’s modern world. The reasons are obvious. This is due to rise in new tactics and methods of digital authoritarianism. Different authoritarian regimes are using these platforms as a tool to hide criticisms on them. And to accomplish their goals.
Pakistan amid lowest ranked countries for internet freedom
There is an international watch over internet freedom. it is a kind of surveillance to examine countries over their internet control. This international watchdog publishes the ‘freedom on net report’ (FOTN). Report is entitled as “The Crisis of Social Media”, recording an overall decline in global internet freedom It is doing these surveys for the last nine years. And unfortunately, Pakistan remains amongst the lowest ranked countries.
On Tuesday, they have published the current year’s report. According to it, Pakistan still lies in that low zone. The report placed Pakistan at 26 from the earlier 25th position, out of 100. One slot down from last year’s ranking. The country scored 5 out of 25 for obstacles to access. 14 out of 35 for limits on content. And 7 out of 40 for violation of user rights index. Along with that, Pakistan is at the top 10 rankings in global ranking for internet freedom. And labelled as third worst country in regional rankings, according to a Dawn report.
The reasons for this decline are numerous. Like, hurdles to internet acess. Government is very slow in spreading internet to far flung and remote areas. We consider it as lack of accessibility. Moreover, the report entails that authorities often dismantle internet services. It happens on different occasions. Like protests, elections, religious and national holidays. In the course of 2018 elections, internet remained disrupted in many parts of Baluchistan and FATA.
Another reason is restricting and limitng content. It has been reported that contents of many journalists, reports and activists have been removed. The blasphemous content is another controversial content. Many people lost their life because of it. User rights were infringed as well. They continue to face intimidation, blackmail, and at times violence, in response to their online activity. The incumbent government must take an action. And ultimately improve our ranking.