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Pakistan In 2010, Pakistan made global headlines for blocking Facebook and other Web sites in response to a contest popularized on the social networking site to draw images of the Prophet Mohammad . In general, Internet filtering in Pakistan remains both inconsistent and intermittent, with filtering primarily targeted at content deemed to be a threat to national security and at religious content considered blasphemous. RESULTS AT A GLANCE Filtering No Evidence of Filtering Suspected Filtering Selective Filtering Substantial Filtering Pervasive Filtering Political • Social • Conflict and security • Internet tools • OTHER FACTORS Low Medium High Not Applicable Transparency • Consistency • 340 Pakistan Background Under General Pervez Musharraf’s leadership (1999–2008), print and electronic media were often censored in cases where content was deemed to be antigovernment or anti-Islam. Government repression of media was particularly acute with regard to Baluchi and Sindhi political autonomy, as well as with content considered blasphemous or subversive. In October 2007, Musharraf won an indirect, widely boycotted presidential election held while his two major political opponents were in exile.1 Musharraf’s eligibility to serve as president while still serving as army chief was challenged in court, to which Musharraf responded by suspending the constitution and placing the country under a state of emergency on November 3, 2007—shutting down all privately owned television and media outlets, arresting lawyers and judges, and jamming cell phone and Internet connections.2 On August 18, 2008, Musharraf resigned from the presidency in order to avoid impeachment.3 Elections were held on September 6, 2008, and Asif Ali Zardari, the husband of assassinated Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chair Benazir Bhutto, was elected Pakistan’s new president.4 Pakistan is home to a vibrant civil society, including a large movement opposing and monitoring Internet and other censorship.5 International human rights groups frequently report on persecution of journalists at the hands of Pakistani military and extremist groups. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least five KEY INDICATORS GDP per capita, PPP (constant 2005 international dollars) 2,381 Life expectancy at birth, total (years) 67 Literacy rate, adult total (percent of people age 15+) 53.7 Human Development Index (of 169) 125 Rule of Law (of 5) 1.6 Voice and Accountability (of 5) 1.5 Democracy Index (of 167) 104 (Hybrid regime) Digital Opportunity Index (of 181) 127 Internet penetration rate 11.3 Source by indicator: World Bank 2009, World Bank 2008a, World Bank 2008b, UNDP 2010, World Bank Worldwide Governance Indicators 2009, Economist Intelligence Unit 2010, ITU 2007, ITU 2009. See Introduction to the Country Profiles, pp. 222–223. ONI Country Profile 341 journalists and media workers were killed in 2009, and at least seven in 2010, representing an increase from previous years.6 Internet in Pakistan Internet usage in 2009 was estimated to be at 20.4 million users, with an 11.3 percent penetration rate.7 Since implementing a deregulation and market liberalization policy in 2003, Pakistan has seen considerable growth in its information and communication technology (ICT) sector. The aggressive pursuit of deregulation and market liberalization has been aimed at boosting Pakistan’s economic modernization and creating an industry for software exports. Fierce competition and demand for service have seen Internet subscription charges drop. For example, DSL, which holds 64 percent of the market for Internet service, saw subscription charges drop from USD 55 to USD 15 per month by the end of 2008.8 However, despite an increase in the implementation of fiber optic cables and wireless technologies, most of Pakistan relies on dial-up Internet connections. There are approximately 130 Internet service providers (ISPs) in Pakistan. Some of the leading ISPs include Wateen, Paknet, Linkdotnet, Comsats, and Cybernet. In 2007, Wateen Telecom, a subsidiary of Warid Telecom, introduced Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX), a telecommunications technology that provides a third-generation (3G) wireless alternative to cable and DSL. Pakistan is the first country in the world to implement such technology, which is designed to provide high-performance , high-speed Internet access over a larger area than other wireless technologies that offer either greater coverage or greater bandwidth can provide.9 Wateen was followed by Wi-Tribe, Mobilink Infinity, and Qubee in providing WiMAX to customers. Despite this state-of-the-art technology, WiMAX has about half as many subscribers as DSL, and about twice as much as EVDO. Internet subscriptions continue to remain low, with 3.7 million Internet subscriptions in 2009 at a 2 percent penetration rate.10...


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