Update: 17th Hearing of Internet Freedom Case – Federal Minister for IT summoned again!

Lahore, Tuesday, February 25, 2014:  The 17th hearing of the Bytes for All vs. The Federation of Pakistan, commonly known as the YouTube case, was held at Lahore High Court today, on February 25, 2014. In October 2013, after 16 hearings, this case was referred to a larger bench for further hearings and decision. Today’s hearing, held nearly four months after the previous one, was the first before a divisional bench.
 
The court summoned the federal minister for Information Technology, Ms. Anusha Rehman, for the third time to appear in person before the court and submit a written statement on the government’s position and intention with respect to lifting the ban on Youtube. The next hearing is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, March 11, 2014. The court appeared to indicate its determination to issue a verdict if the minister Information Technology continues the no-show tactics thus far employed.
 
The court wishes to hear the official stance of the government and its intentions with regard to the opening of YouTube and other Internet Freedoms in the country. It is important to note here that this petition is broad in nature, seeking the court’s protection on several digital rights to which lifting the ban on Youtube is only one part. The petition as filed in the court is accessible here
 
We believe that our complaint rests on the cornerstone of fundamental human rights as enshrined in the constitution of Pakistan, and in the illegality of the government’s actions in attempting to abrogate these through arbitrary and anti-people controls over the internet. In this regard, a verdict from the court sooner rather than later will only help further strengthen the nascent, continuously crippled democracy in this country. 
 
We continue to stand guard as an organization and concerned citizens, hoping to see Pakistan’s judicial system upholding its responsibility to protect fundamental human rights of the people of Pakistan, and supporting hard fight for democratic norms.
 
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About Bytes for All, Pakistan
 
Bytes for All (B4A), Pakistan is a human rights organization and a network of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) professionals and practitioners. It experiments and organizes debate on the relevance of ICTs for sustainable development and strengthening social justice movements in the country. Its mission is “ICTs for development, democracy and social justice”. www.bytesforall.pk
 
For more information:
 
Bytes for All, Pakistan
House 273, Street 17, Sector F- 10/2
Islamabad, Pakistan
 
Tel. +92 51 2110494-95