Pakistan is one of those countries which are still facing serious threats to their internet landscape. Although, efforts are being applied by the government and private organization to provide a better ecosystem for internet landscape, yet the country is still passing through worst circumstances.
Internet landscape in Pakistan is exposed to threats including unpredictable administrative shutdowns, misplaced judicial activism against the freedom of the internet, rise in cyber crimes, enforced disappearances of activists and the abuse of cybercrime law, as indicated by Bytes for All in Internet Landscape of Pakistan 2017 report.
The report insight an indigenous effort to highlight challenges effecting digital and human rights in Pakistan. Pakistan has faced massive internet outages in the current year which points towards the need for competition in internet providers. The arbitrariness of available legal frameworks and misconception of laws by judiciary has caused increased restriction on Internet’s landscape.
The report indicates that the year 2017 specifically brought many challenges and troubling vogue in the existing landscape of the internet in Pakistan. As it states,
“As anticipated, terrible consequences emerged with the enactment of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016. Several bloggers were abducted allegedly by the state authorities and many social media activists and journalists have been summoned by the investigation agencies for their online political expression. This trend has cultivated a climate of fear, self-censorship and further strengthened the culture of impunity.”
Furthermore, the report cites a significant increase in internet penetration after the auction of 3G and 4G spectrums. This resulted in increased internet access with a greater threshold of online crimes against social media users and political activists with dissenting voices.
Another worrying fact revealed in the report is about cyber-armies either hired by the govt or working independently, used an effective tool to suppress freedom of expression and also disturbed progressive description in online platforms.
You can see the full report here.