The Report: According to the findings of the ‘Annual Pakistan media legal review 2020’ report launched by the Institute of Research, Advocacy and Development (IRADA), internet freedom declined in Pakistan in 2020 due to the consistent blocking of political, social and cultural websites by the government.
2020 saw many different social media bans because of protests against apps like Tiktok and PUBG, and an undeclared policy of connectivity restrictions and increased disinformation and weaponization of the cybercrime law as a tool.
“The accumulative effect of these outcomes was that the already unfriendly legal framework governing freedom of expression, right to information and digital rights in Pakistan worsened considerably during 2020,” according to the report titled “Growing fear and hate in Pakistani online civic spaces.’, said the executive Executive Director Mohammad Aftab Alam.
The report also noted that 2020 saw the re-emergence with a vengeance of banning social media applications and platforms.
Many incidents like the banning of Tik Tok caused massive controversy, as Tik Tok faced two bans in Pakistan. Several social media and dating apps have also been banned since.
The major e-gaming success, PUBG was briefly banned too in the month of August, and massive protests and outrage emerged after it leading to its unbanning.