A growing number of countries in global south including Pakistan are joining hands to become what some term as the “enemies of the Internet” that employ restrictive technologies for filtering and censoring access on the Internet. What is more worrying is that profit hungry organizations are also collaborating with governments and proposing massive filtering and censorship solutions to authoritarian regimes to limit people’s access to the Internet.
Pakistan has already employed filtering technologies to silence dissent, curtail freedom of expression and information under the pretext of national security and protection of society. The process and procedures adopted for blocking access to websites remains a mystery for the general public whose freedom to access information guaranteed under the constitution of Pakistan and International Human Rights is violated on daily basis by the very custodians of its protection.
The access to free flow of information and ideas is as important as freedom of expression. Internet censorship creates obstacles in advancement of society both economically and socially. As unavailability of Internet access creates isolated societies similarly, internet censorship in the guise of protecting the state, society and religion creates seclusion and further deepens the digital divide. It is important for regulators, politicians and people in authority to understand that filtering the internet in Pakistan will not filter’s people mind and desire for information and freedom of speech. Instead, will advance isolation of society and deter progress of the social order. By limiting education to the underserved and impoverished in Pakistan we helped in creating the religious demons in the country and creations of curtailed freedom of access to information on the Internet remains to be seen.