A report on the level of internet and digital media freedom in 60 countries has revealed that Pakistan is among the bottom ten countries of the list for being ‘least free’.
The Freedom on the Net 2013 report, in which the countries are ranked from 0 (the most free) to 100 (the least free), has scored Pakistan 67 and a status of ‘not free’, while Iceland was at the top with a score of 6.
It was researched and compiled by Digital Rights Foundation, Pakistan along with research analysts of independent watchdog Freedom House.
Digital Rights Foundation Executive Director, Nighat Dad said that Pakistan remains one of the worst countries when it comes to online freedom of speech, user rights and citizens’ privacy.
He further added that the state has been rigorously trying to implement the best of surveillance set-ups to create a kind of watchdog upon activists, journalists and a common citizen on the name of war against terrorism, Express Tribune reports.
The report suggests that despite the growing number of internet users in the country, there have been various political and social obstacles by successive governments that came into power, in the name of fighting terrorism and preserving Islam.
Only urban cities such as Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar have access to better quality broadband services, however, ‘bureaucratic hurdles’ are causing a problem for the development of 3G or 4G networks in the country.
The list places neighbouring India in the ‘partly free category’ with a score of 47, while China and Iran score even lower than Pakistan with scores of 86 and 91 respectively.