Expression Restricted - An Account of Online Expression in Pakistan

Freedom of expression is a universally accepted human right under the International Convention of Civil and Political Rights, ICCPR. As a signatory of ICCPR, Pakistan has committed to uphold this right in the national constitution and through local laws. This report is based on a customised version of Frank La Framework for freedom of expression, adapted by Association for Progressive Communications, APC into a set of indicators. Under this framework, the report looks at how this right is framed in the legal structure in Pakistan and how it is practised, particularly in digital spaces. For this report, B4A has customised the APC ­LaRue Framework, making some additions to effectively reflect the state freedom of expression on the internet in Pakistan.

This reports aims to assist journalists, civil society organisations, and national and global human rights activists in assessing the state of internet freedoms in the country, allowing them to look at the policy and the practice around internet freedoms within the country. 

At the time of the publication of this report in May 2015, various policy changes are on the horizon. The draft of new cybercrime legislation, Pakistan Electronic Crime Bill, 2015 (PECB) is being discussed in a parliamentary committee. There are reports of another Cyber Terrorism bill in the works. This report should be seen as a situational analysis up to 20th May 2015. It comments on some aspects of PECB 2015 but assessment against the indicators only reflects the legislative and legal regime in place as of 20th May 2015.