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Pakistan: Journalist questions use of Virtual Private Networks to access 'X' despite ban

10 Jul 2024

Islamabad [Pakistan], July 10 (ANI): Prominent Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir has raised serious concerns that despite a government ban imposed on social media platform X, previously known as Twitter, the Prime Minister and senior ministers of the country reportedly continued to access the microblogging service using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).

Mir criticised the government for what he perceived as inconsistency in its policy and its implications for the public.

Sharing a video on X, Hamid Mir said, "Is it not a big violation of government policy by the government itself? The government of Pakistan imposed a ban on X many months ago but why the Prime Minister and his senior ministers are using X through VPN continuously? What kind of message is it to the people of Pakistan?"The Pakistani authorities in Islamabad recently informed the Sindh High Court that the decision to ban X adheres to Pakistan's legal framework.

This comes in response to a case challenging the ban, underscoring ongoing debates on censorship, freedom of expression, and digital rights in the country.

Pakistan has a history of imposing bans or restrictions on various social media platforms, with some lawmakers advocating for permanent bans citing concerns about negative impacts on younger generations.

These measures have raised broader discussions on the balance between security and freedom of speech, particularly regarding censorship of books and online content deemed sensitive or provocative.

The legal landscape in Pakistan includes laws addressing blasphemy, defamation, and national security, often invoked to justify restrictions on dissenting opinions.

Journalists, writers, and activists critical of government policies or religious institutions frequently face harassment or legal repercussions. (ANI)

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