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Internet Activists Criticize Islamabad Over Poor Freedom Ranking

A Pakistani rights group has criticized the government for restricting Internet access, a day after a global survey ranked Pakistan among worst in the world in terms of Internet freedom.

Pakistan was ranked 10th from the bottom in a survey of 65 nations that was released on December 4 by the U.S.-based Freedom House.

Faheem Zafar, an activist from Internet freedom group called Bytes For All, said the climate in Pakistan is “becoming more intrusive and disturbing as the authorities clamp down on liberal political discourse on the Internet” by banning sites and accounts of activists.

Pakistan’s Internet laws initially targeted material deemed as blasphemous.

But Zafar said people with alternative political views increasingly are being targeted and blocked.

Freedom House said Iran and China are the world's most repressive countries in terms of Internet Freedom.

Uzbekistan, Syria, Vietnam, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and Ethiopia also were ranked among the worst offenders.

With reporting by dpa