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Internet freedom in Pakistan dramatically decreased in 2020: report

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Islamabad [Pakistan] April 29 (ANI): Internet freedom in Pakistan significantly decreased in 2020, as the government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan increased the blocking of political, social and cultural websites, as well as the increase in “Militarization of cybercrime law as a tool,” according to a report.

The report – “ Pakistani Media Annual Legal Review 2020 ” – was launched by the Institute for Research, Advocacy and Development (IRADA) to commemorate the upcoming World Press Freedom Day on May 3, Dawn reported.

“The cumulative effect of these findings has been that the already hostile legal framework governing freedom of expression, right to information and digital rights in Pakistan has significantly worsened in 2020,” according to the report titled “Growth of fear and hate in Pakistani online civic spaces ”.

The report says Pakistan is experiencing major setbacks in the enforcement of digital rights, freedom of expression and the right to information – especially in online spaces – due to regression in the areas of digital rights. Internet policies and regulations.

“This translates into an increase in censorship, hate speech, digital surveillance and breach of privacy and misinformation and disinformation online,” the report adds.

The report notes that the cybercrime law has been used repeatedly against journalists and opinion makers for exercising freedom of expression and social media activism.

Large numbers of journalists and social media activists have become targets of the draconian e-crime prevention law (Peca) 2016, according to the report.

Several journalists and human rights activists have been investigated, kidnapped, investigated and arrested in connection with their online / social media activities and posts, according to the report.

“Freedom of expression is a fundamental right guaranteed in the form of article 19 of the Constitution,” said IRADA executive director Mohammad Aftab Alam.

“The government must roll back its increasingly coercive policies and hostile practices aimed at curbing freedom of expression and align them with best practices of diversity and pluralism of expression and allow online spaces to be representative opinions and interests of the people, ”he added. (ANI)

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