'Pakistan may become Enemy of the Internet, 2013'

Published: March 15, 2012
Reporters Without Borders says internet filter would result in the creation of an Electronic Great Wall.

Reporters Without Borders says internet filter would result in the creation of an Electronic Great Wall.

Reporters Without Borders, in its 2012 report on countries that are “Enemies of the Internet” has stated that Pakistan may be in the list next year for its attempt to set up a nation-wide internet filtering system.

The report states:

“At the time of writing, Pakistan has invited private-sector companies to bid for the creation of a national Internet filtering and blocking system. Reporters Without Borders has asked the authorities to abandon this project, which would result in the creation of an Electronic Great Wall. If they go ahead, Pakistan could be added to the Enemies of the Internet in 2013.”

This latest warning comes in the wake of growing local and international outcry after the National ICT R&D Fund, a division of the Ministry of Information Technology, floated a proposal for a system “able to handle a block list of up to 50 million URLs with a processing delay of not more than 1 millisecond.”

Access Now, a non-profit, human rights, public policy and advocacy group also launched a campaign to call on IT companies not to “play a role in putting up the walls of censorship.”

The campaign, which calls upon Bluecoat, Huawei, McAfee, Netsweeper, ZTE, and all local bidders to not participate in aiding the set up of the filtering system, gathered 17,243 signatures at the time this report was filed.

A number of other local and international groups including Bolo Bhi, Bytes for All, Human Rights First, Electronic Frontier Foundation and Websense have also issued statements against the internet filtering system.

The controversial move by the Pakistan government has also garnered coverage by the New York TimesForbesTIME and other foreign and local press.

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Reader Comments (43)

  • Mar 15, 2012 - 3:03PM

    We, the people, should do everything in our capacity to stop this ban.


  • muhammad Ali
    Mar 15, 2012 - 3:22PM

    Thank you ppp,the self proclaimed liberal and anti-dictator party,for doing what musharraf the dictator couldn’t do.first rehman malik thanked the Taliban for not attacking during certain months and now this all encompassing step by the ppp to kill any free opinion in pakistan.
    History will remember that it was not the jamat-e-islami or Sunni tehreek which cracked down on the internet,it was the self proclaimed champions of freedom and democracy that did the unthinkable.Recommend

  • ZYZE
    Mar 15, 2012 - 3:28PM

    National interest is more important then any thing else.


  • SalSal
    Mar 15, 2012 - 3:33PM

    So just because Pakistan is blocking porn and blasphemous websites, which many Arab countries do, Pak wil become enemy of the Internet?


  • Mar 15, 2012 - 3:38PM

    Yes i support Gov. over this media and internet regulation system


    Mar 15, 2012 - 3:49PM

    We (pak) are enemies of anything that goes towards progress and this all we do in the name of Religion, Culture, values and the top one , NATIONAL INTEREST


  • HH
    Mar 15, 2012 - 4:00PM

    The idiots sitting in PTA think that I can’t watch porn online after their ban on xxx websites….lolzz!!!!


  • Mir
    Mar 15, 2012 - 4:10PM

    Ban basant, ban concerts, ban valentines day, control print and electronic media and now ban internet only let the terrorists and uniform men roam free. We are not worthy of freedom we are happy under authoritarian regimes and dictatorships. We need Taliban not democracy.


  • Acorn Guts
    Mar 15, 2012 - 4:21PM

    Is there a list of countries that deliberately introduce single points of failure in their IT infrastructure as well?

    What are the chances that the same PTCL employee who hijacked YouTube traffic (by making a type and taking ownership of Google’s IP block on the international network routing tables back in 2008) won’t mess up this censoring bottleneck and cause entire internet traffic to head straight into a terminator at the end of the line?

    Can’t by morality for the whole nation in the form of some multi-threaded network with 1ms delay.


  • betterwords
    Mar 15, 2012 - 4:30PM

    Good to go , I think we need it


  • Ahmad
    Mar 15, 2012 - 4:46PM

    well all fellas! i must tell you that its not a BAN on INTERNET or abt our liberty while surfing. this is only to filter those URLs which are threatening our norms and values. Most of which are SEX URLs on internet. I think it is the first step this govt is taking to in Cyberworld to protect our coming generations from the menus of pornography. Yes ofcourse, there will be some URLs filtered through this system, which the govt may find harmful for the country’s image/welfare as well. but thats not gona kill your rights for getting knowledge, ideas or ne other beneficial information that you need. i hope, its gonna help us in a long run. i hate PPP or PML and neither i am a political mind. so dont try to consider me a pro-ppp.


  • uc
    Mar 15, 2012 - 4:52PM

    Come on people… the whole of middle east including the (liberal) UAE does this. The companies you listed above most of them Western are doing huge business in this area. By the way its mostly going to be used to block porn…. which I guess is not that bad an idea.. i.e. watching porn cannot be construed as being liberal…


  • Curious
    Mar 15, 2012 - 5:05PM

    When countries like China ban Google and Facebook, and Gulf puts ban on porn and other proxy sites, they don’t become “Enemy of Internet” nor their freedom or progressiveness is affected !! Why we are exception for everything in the world !!


  • braveheart
    Mar 15, 2012 - 5:09PM

    i wonder where were these so called human rights activists when Pakistan topped in watching porn , i am with Pakistani govt on this issue if Facebook or twitter or any other site is blocked with many pornographic sites and blasphemous sites , its not a bad bargain , this is a Islamic country and the content on internet should be filtered , bravo govt we stand by you


  • Haris
    Mar 15, 2012 - 5:11PM

    This article does not tells how we become ENEMY just be controlling the some objectionable urls. In some cases it is perfectly logical to ban access to some websites. Internet is just another parallel world although virtual, as we have laws and controls in real world, we can have such things in the internet world.

    There can be a debate how to control and what to control, but saying that nothing should be banned and we have became an enemy doesn’t seems right.


  • sidjeen
    Mar 15, 2012 - 5:21PM

    for all i those above who are in favor of this ban i pity you.


  • Zohaib
    Mar 15, 2012 - 5:24PM

    @uc: Why you don’t know how politicians of Pakistan are? Instead of blocking porn they will block every url that is criticizing zardari and nawaz sharif too. You cannot give control to our useless government thats it.


  • anam khan
    Mar 15, 2012 - 5:35PM

    what this article mean?
    what is going to happen with internet???
    please some one explain in simple words?


  • Mina
    Mar 15, 2012 - 5:41PM

    oh,c’mon!!As far as I’ve experienced as a regular internet user,the ban or filteration z mostly applied at the porn sites n the blasphemous ones.N,I think that’s an appreciable move by govt.(considerin the ratio of visiting porn sites in our country in previous few years).Also,Internet z accessible to everybdy,nowadays,includin not-so-educated masses,who use it mostly for ‘tafreeh’ purposes,as it goes..children,too,uze it.so,it’s betta to keep a check.Also,I dun’ understand how this ban at sum particular type of sites relates to dictatorship,free media,etc??This z nt a politically driven campaign for political gains.In a country with social n educational condition like Pakistan,such initiatives are gud.(I consider it to be 1 of the few good things this govt.has done:))
    n,c’mon Pakistanis,are we not so fond ov becoming moral bacons n judges,at every level:)So,watt’s da problm now??


  • Rizwan Ali
    Mar 15, 2012 - 5:50PM

    Hi! guys i personaly think we shouldn’t even ban porn movies actully we are afraid of again getting award but i’m sure it will not happen again and there is no national intrest depends on internet. in all developed countries a man can watch at home but they don’t. Why? transformation in minds.


  • Cautious
    Mar 15, 2012 - 6:03PM

    It’s an issue that should warrant concern — the only bright side is that Pakistan doesn’t seem to be able to implement anything properly so this may all end up a waste of money.


  • AK
    Mar 15, 2012 - 6:15PM

    Eeh! how many idiots really believe the ban will be limited to porn
    How do you define objectionable?


  • Mina
    Mar 15, 2012 - 6:56PM

    aur,is “global village” walay era men,there would be no such info jo ban hnoay ki wjh cy humayn nh mili tou hm Pakistanis mer jaeyn gy:p..The international media z much more fond ov talking about us.So,we’ll nt be deprived ov anything.A positiv intiative should nt be condemned bcz,supposedly it can be abused.Without any proof,v can n claim the dangers of this policy


  • ht312
    Mar 15, 2012 - 7:05PM

    The ban is not only to made to block porn. But sensor the internet keeping in mind the interest of the government. And why ban porn? cause you don’t like it? Please just don’t watch it.


  • freenet
    Mar 15, 2012 - 7:20PM

    Those who say k koi farak nahi parta their whole use of the net is restricted to a few ‘holy’ sites such as facebook and youtube. For advanced users it matters a lot. Internet is not a collection of isolated computers. It is supposed to be a network. You cannot cut of one part of the network without affecting the others. Today porn sites are considered to be immoral. tomorrow it will be bollywood content as well as facebook and utube. It will never stop


  • Shyam
    Mar 15, 2012 - 7:50PM

    Pakistan should ban Internet! It is an infidel technology which shows moral Bankruptcy. It encourages immoral contact between people of different sexes. You can even find pictures of women not wearing the burqa. This is not permitted and must be stoped. It is a zionist conspiracy to defile true muslims.. This shows the true face of Amercans who developed this evil technology.

    The Difa-e-Pakistan will declare jihad on the Internet and prepare thousands of mujahids to attack the internet and destroy it. We will destroy internet even if we have to eat grass tomorrow. Pakistan is a nuclear power and the Internet should not forget it

    Death to Internet, Death to America


  • Rizwan
    Mar 15, 2012 - 8:10PM


    “So just because Pakistan is blocking porn and blasphemous websites, which many Arab countries do…”

    The Arab countries block websites/ free speech because they want to preserve family rule and prevent people from speaking against them – ofcourse, the availability of porn on the internet is a convenient excuse. The banning/ blocking of porn sites on a religious pretext, is the best way to curb free speech on the internet. What guarantee do you have that blogs/ forums where individuals can rant against Nawas Sharif, Zardari, Altaf Hussain, Munawar Hasan, Asfandyar Wali Khan, Sardar Chandio will also not be banned? NONE.

    If people are so offended by the content available on the internet, they surely turn their backs to acid attacks on women, the molestation of children (boys) in NWFP, women who are punished for claiming rape (she has admitted to the act) but the man, becasue of his denial goes scot free. Fix these and society will improve. Punish offenders and society will improve. Lock away people who commit crimes irrespective of their rank/ status in society and things will change. Blocking internet porn is a feeble/ misdirected attempt akin to taking chemotherapy for back leg muscle cramps.


  • Rizwan
    Mar 15, 2012 - 8:16PM

    “……this is only to filter those URLs which are threatening our norms and values. Most of which are SEX URLs on internet. I think it is the first step this govt is taking to in Cyberworld to protect our coming generations from the menus of pornography….”

    Ofcourse. How right you are. The “coming” generation doesn’t hear the maulvis preaching hate, doesn’t see acid attack victims on print/ electronic media, doesnt read about the gang rapes ordered by panchayats to redeem honour, doesn’t know about how the politicians are stealing from the country and driving more people towards poverty/ crime. All that adds to impeccable character building right?


  • Faraz
    Mar 15, 2012 - 8:51PM

    I think ban is rite as the main focus of ban is on porn and anti Pakistan websites…
    We should come out of this false debate and don’t exaggerate this matter…


  • Reasonable
    Mar 15, 2012 - 9:54PM

    as long as objectionable sites are blocked it is OK, but once you have the tool, It will not take long to block non objectionable material. At the worst case scenario people may not even realize that some thing is was there at it is blocked. Its a good tool if you use it sensibly but were can we find sensible people, better not to give this tool to the governments and regret later


  • Sana
    Mar 15, 2012 - 10:39PM

    Every type of media follows some code of ethics. Sadly internet or online journalism doesn’t follow any code in our country. It’s not such a bad decision but then it is open to misuse by Govt. National interest comes first anyway. So no problem.Recommend

  • Saeed
    Mar 16, 2012 - 6:45AM

    @Cautious: In other news, India wants to ban 300+ websites because Indian Music Industry asks to. Hypocrisy must India’s national past time.


  • Shyam
    Mar 16, 2012 - 8:08AM

    India wants to ban 300+ websites because Indian Music Industry asks to. Hypocrisy must India’s national past time.

    Ahem! Maybe you are not aware of a little something called copyright laws.


  • Sohail
    Mar 16, 2012 - 8:48AM

    Pornography must be blocked, as you know last year Pakistan ws at the top for searching sex sites in the world, sham on sex searchers, go for Shadi mubarak, ask and decide to marry as you become BALIGH rather than Haram khori.


  • Mar 16, 2012 - 9:13AM


    Many torrent sites are banned in US, or atleast from being hosted from US soil because they promote piracy. But, not a single person can say Freedom Of Expression is not present in the US.

    Same goes with India.

    The main aim of any rule is to make sure people dont talk rubbish about them and criticize. That happens in India through our Electronic Media and Facebook. One minister actually suggested censoring FB, but had to retract the statement the very next day because of public pressure.

    Indians love freedom too much to give it up to some crazy mullah-equivalents in India. India’s culture is of tolerance and openness. Its the land of the Kamasutra. Islamist and Indian values are incompatible.


  • asif nadeem
    Mar 16, 2012 - 9:17AM

    They are not trying to block porn…….we should stand against this ban…..where is civil society….our fundamental rights are going to be sabotaged by this government….Recommend

  • Waqas Butt
    Mar 16, 2012 - 10:27AM

    It is shameful to know that many of us believe that banning porn is violation of human rights or would hurt us. This system is a need of time provided it is implemented in a right way.


  • Fauzia Mussarat
    Mar 16, 2012 - 11:54AM

    so Bill Gates will attack Pak next?


  • angar
    Mar 16, 2012 - 11:16PM

    salam, which time pakistan has said the truth? this is nothing just aprpaganda,one of friends told me that there are some porn sites still open (unblocked) they have blocked just some famous sites 1000 of sites are open already.


  • Optimist
    Mar 17, 2012 - 8:21AM

    According to the Report, 13 countries are enemies of Internet including INDIA.

    Shame on you ET for giving negative report about Pakistan without full facts!


  • Mar 17, 2012 - 2:22PM


    Correction. India is a state under observation. Nowhere being an enemy of the state.

    When was the last time you heard Indian politicians banning something like Facebook?

    Pakistan is certainly special in this category.


  • Dopeharee
    Mar 20, 2012 - 12:12AM

    block all anti Zardari sites. He is PPP’s prophet.


  • Osama
    Mar 20, 2012 - 12:34AM

    the internet cannot be controlled by anyone if they think they can block the sites than they are wrong if they really want to than they should block all the proxies too………whether free or paid one….:)


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