Pakistan was third in the world in new internet restrictions in the first half of 2023, with three recorded cases. Within the first half of this year, Pakistan has already had the same number of internet restrictions as in all of 2022.
Surfshark conducted a half-year analysis of internet shutdowns based on the Internet Shutdown Tracker. Pakistan was third in the world for internet restrictions in the first half of 2023 — the country was responsible for 3 of the 42 new restrictions recorded worldwide. Iran was first in the world with 14 recorded cases, followed by India with 9. Asia accounted for a staggering 71% of the new restrictions, highlighting the region’s significance in this global challenge.
New internet restrictions were recorded in May
All three of Pakistan’s new internet restrictions were recorded in May following the arrest of former PM Imran Khan. On May 9th, access to Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube was restricted, and this restriction is still in place. On the same day, there were several temporary network connection disruptions across the country, and the day after that, some Instagram servers became unavailable and are still unavailable today.
“When the internet is restricted, people are left with limited opportunity for spreading information to the rest of the world, organizing protests and medical aid for the people in need, and contacting friends and loved ones. It’s important to spread the word on this because the people affected often have limited opportunity to do so themselves”, says Gabriele Racaityte-Krasauske, Surfshark spokeswoman.
Iran, India, and Pakistan were the top three countries
Iran, India, and Pakistan were the top three countries with new internet restrictions for the first half of 2023. Asia has long been the focal point of internet shutdowns, with 71% of all new restrictions in the first half of the year happening in Asia. Iran’s 14 new restrictions were observed in Zahedan during Friday protests over the Zahedan massacre. Meanwhile, India experienced most of its nine restrictions during protests.
Surfshark’s analysis also reveals a broader global trend, where more than two-thirds of government-imposed internet restrictions worldwide in the first half of 2023 (a total of 30) were triggered by public demonstrations. This highlights the critical role of the internet as a battleground for vital information during periods of civil unrest.
Surfshark continues to monitor and raise awareness about the increasing global challenges posed by internet restrictions. For further details on Surfshark’s research and insights into global internet restrictions, please visit the comprehensive half-year recap of internet shutdowns.
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