Sindh High Court Internet Uninterrupted

SHC directs authorities to ensure uninterrupted internet till Feb 8

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KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) has directed relevant authorities to ensure continuous internet access for all citizens until the February 8 general elections.

In its ruling on Wednesday, the Supreme Court restrained authorities from suspending internet services and directed the suspects to file their response by January 29.

Lawyer and human rights activist Jibran Nasir has filed a petition with the HHC against the frequent blocking of internet services in the country.

As political campaigns gather pace ahead of next month’s elections, users have experienced multiple internet outages in recent days.

The outage of social media platforms such as Facebook, X, Instagram, and YouTube on January 20 was the second in two weeks.

After an hours-long outage last week, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) blamed the nationwide internet outage on a “technical glitch” in its fiber optic network.

According to the official report, internet services have been fully restored across the country.

According to downdetector.pk, Google services and internet service provider PTCL were also affected by disruptions. Reports of a complete internet outage prior to the elections also appeared on social media.

The relationship between the state and media freedom has deteriorated over the past two years due to increasing cases of censorship, violence against journalists, and government disregard for critical media, a report said.

The report, titled ‘Under Siege: Legislative, Judicial, and Executive Actions Stifling Freedom of Expression and the Right to Information’, was published by the Institute for Research, Advocacy, and Development (IRADA) as part of its annual State of Play series in the digital field. journalism.

During the reporting period, the PTA blocked up to 1.1 million URLs, including 187 mobile applications.

About 200,000 of these blocked or removed URLs and content are believed to be related to contempt of court, defense of Pakistan, or the glory of Islam, as well as defamatory and bigoted/hateful content, the report said.

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The report also reveals a significant number of content removal requests from the Pakistani government to major tech platforms such as Google, Meta, TikTok, and X (formerly Twitter).

For example, according to the report, between January 2021 and June 2022, Meta restricted access in Pakistan to 12,001 items flagged by the PTA for alleged violations of local laws.

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