Pakistan is among the 10 worst countries along with Iran and China on the index of internet freedom, according to a global survey released Thursday. Freedom House released its 'Freedom on the Internet 2014' report, which surveyed 65 countries and listed the index from zero (best) to 100 (worst) on obstacles to internet access, limits placed on internet content, and violations of internet user rights. Freedom House’s fifth annual comprehensive study of internet freedom around the globe showed Pakistan drop a step down to 10th position from last year, indicating increase in internet restrictions. Most of the 10 worst countries are from Asia, including Iran, Syria, China, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Only Cuba and Ethiopia are two non-Asian nations among the worst ten, placed at fourth and fifth positions. Iran is the worst, followed by Syria and China, whereas heading the best 10 internet freedom nations is Iceland followed by Estonia, Canada, Australia and Germany.
The report cites cases of internet abuse in 2014 including killing of three persons for being gay by a man who used social media to identify their sexual orientation. It says a judge in Pakistan’s Punjab Province sentenced a Christian couple to death for blasphemy in relation to a text message they deny sending, while a lawyer defending a professor for alleged blasphemous FaceBook post was killed. Nighat Daad of the Digital Rights Foundation, which collaborated in the preparation of report, said internet censorship does not augur well for the democratic system of Pakistan. "Pervasive and increased government control on the internet whether in form of censorship or with new surveillance tactics, is limiting freedom of expression and amplifying self-censorship among the internet users in Pakistan," she said. (Source: Economic Times)