KARACHI: Pakistan has been ranked third in the world for internet restrictions in the first half of 2023.
According to a report by Lithuania-based virtual private network company Surfshark, a half-year analysis of internet shutdowns based on the Internet Shutdown Tracker reveals that Pakistan is responsible for three out of 42 new restrictions worldwide. imposed by Following arrest Former Prime Minister Imran Khan on May 9.
At the time, access to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube was restricted in the country, while several temporary cellular network outages were also seen across the country for several days.
The Surfshark report ranks Pakistan behind Iran and India as the top countries in the list of regimes to impose internet restrictions in the first half of 2023. Asia is the epicenter of most internet shutdowns.
Iran and India dominate the most shutdowns in the first half of 2023, Surfshark’s report
Iran witnessed the highest number of internet outages during this time, with a total of 14 cases, all of which occurred in Zahedan during Friday’s protests over the Zahedan massacre.
India and occupied Kashmir
India closely followed Iran, with at least nine cases, most of which occurred during protests.
Interestingly, the report mentions two separate internet shutdowns in ‘Jammu and Kashmir’, which were also ordered by the Indian government. If these are added to the country’s tally, the number of internet shutdowns in India will rise to 11 in six months.
Protests are reported to be the main reason behind government-imposed internet restrictions.
More than two-thirds of the new disruptions, 30, were sparked by public anger over social and political issues. The survey also highlights that the Internet is the primary battleground for important information in times of civil unrest.
Surfshark’s Internet Censorship Tracker analyzes reports from news media and digital rights organizations such as NetBlocks and Access Now, and collects data from social media companies to document cases.
Review of controlled apps in 2023
Facebook faced heavy restrictions in the first half of 2023. The app is restricted in Ethiopia, Guinea, Senegal, Pakistan and Suriname. All of these countries have a history of government-imposed internet restrictions.
Telegram, Instagram and YouTube shared second place on the list of the most blocked social platforms, each facing restrictions in four countries. WhatsApp and Twitter were close behind, sharing third place on the list, each facing restrictions in three countries.
In the first half of the year, only one country restricted TikTok, Ethiopia. However, the US is on track to become the eighth country to ban the platform, the report said.
According to the report, there was a 31 percent decrease in new internet outage cases in the first half of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. But the number of countries imposing these restrictions has increased from 13 to 14.
Overall, Asia led the world in internet outages, accounting for 71 percent of new global cases. Surfshark found that 2.35 billion people experienced Internet censorship throughout the year.
The report also states that the decrease in global restrictions comes from 35 cases from Jammu and Kashmir in the first half of 2022 to just 2 in the same period in 2023.
Published on July 25, 2023 in Dawn