September 22, 2018

Enforced disappearances among new threats to Internet freedom in Pakistan: report

News Source: Daily Times

LAHORE: Cyber armies, judicial activism and enforced disappearances are some of emerging threats to the internet freedom in Pakistan, a report published by advocacy group Bytes for All said on Wednesday.

Other threats the country’s internet population faces include arbitrary administrative shutdowns, ‘misplaced judicial activism against the internet freedom, and rise of cyber armies and abuse of the cyber-crime laws.

The Bytes for All’s yearly report dubbed ‘Internet Landscape of Pakistan’ based its findings on the ‘indicators that are developed after careful customisation of the framework on freedom of expression given by former UN Special Rapporteur of expression and opinion Frank La Rue.

The report monitors and documents the ongoing trends, challenges and impact of the digital and human rights in the country. The rights group has been publishing the said report for the past couple of year and the one released recently is the third edition of the same.

It notes that the year 2017 has added to the challenges and ‘troubling trends’ in the existing internet landscape of the country where ‘blatant infringements on the fundamental freedoms’ were already on the rise.

The report quotes the plight of bloggers and social media activists abducted by state authorities and summoning of prominent journalists by the investigation agencies for their political expression online.

Bytes for All’s report says there has been a rise of online crimes against social media users and political activists with dissenting voices. Some of the consequences they have to endure are patronising of crimes committed by the state and non-state actors.

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