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 Times, Forbes, TIME and other foreign and local press.