Human Rights

Human Rights Advocates Call for Immediate Restoration of X in Pakistan

Human rights activists and civil society organizations in Islamabad are advocating for the urgent reinstatement of X, formerly known as Twitter, in Pakistan. They have issued a joint statement expressing grave concerns over the increasing instances of internet shutdowns and the blocking of social media platforms.

X, a widely used social media platform and a vital source of information, has been inaccessible to millions of users in Pakistan for over a month now. The suspension of X occurred ahead of the February 8 general election and has persisted since then.

Despite court orders calling for the resumption of X and uninterrupted access for the public, users have faced sporadic disruptions and obstacles in accessing the platform. Even on polling day, there was a complete shutdown of the internet, further exacerbating the situation.

In response to these challenges, rights activists and civil society groups have launched a campaign called #InternetKholo, urging the new government to prioritize the restoration of X.

The joint statement condemns the arbitrary blocking of platforms, emphasizing that such actions violate fundamental rights, including freedom of expression and access to information. Moreover, they set a troubling precedent for stifling political discourse and diversity of voices in the country.

Criticism is also directed towards the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) for its silence and failure to provide reasons for blocking X. The prolonged disruption of X is seen as a troubling manifestation of growing digital censorship in Pakistan, undermining the country’s international commitments.

Additionally, the civil society voices concerns about the spread of misinformation in the absence of platforms like X, which facilitate diverse political voices and discussions.

In light of these concerns, the civil society calls for immediate action to reverse the trend of digital censorship in Pakistan. They urge the incoming government, regulators, and public bodies to recognize the detrimental impact of restricting access to information on citizens’ human rights, including the right to political participation.

Despite concerns raised by the Sindh High Court regarding the accessibility of X, the PTA has denied any involvement in suspending or slowing down social media platforms.

Back to top button