Washington-based Freedom House, in its latest report titled ‘Freedom on the Net 2021: The Global Drive to Control Big Tech’, ranked Pakistan seventh among “abusers of internet freedom”.

Imran Ayub for Dawn writes that according to the research, global internet freedom had declined for the 11th consecutive year.

“Pakistan’s proposed Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content (Procedure, Oversight and Safeguards) Rules which outlines requirements for social media companies to establish one or more data servers in the country would lead to a negative impact on companies and the users,” said the report.


“Pakistan’s proposed rules have raised alarms about their impact on end-to-end encryption. The draft requires social media companies and service providers with more than 500,000 users to hand over personal data in a decrypted and readable format when requested by the Federal Investigation Agency,” it added.

The findings suggested that Internet freedom faced a serious and major challenge not only in Pakistan but around the globe as the situation is quite worse in Myanmar, Uganda and Belarus.

Freedom House also found Pakistan among 24 countries that have given guidelines on how platforms treat content.

“More governments arrested users for nonviolent political, social or religious speech than ever before. Officials suspended internet access in at least 20 countries, and 21 states blocked access to social media platforms. Authorities in at least 45 countries are suspected of obtaining sophisticated spyware or data-extraction technology from private vendors,” it concluded.