"Access is my right" campaign for a Pakistan free of censorship and surveillance

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By Bytes for All for APCNews

28 November 2012

Internet filtering and online censorship is increasingly becoming a norm in the country. In the name of national security, war on terror, religious morality and indecency, the Government of Pakistan has been hyperactive in curtailing means of communications, expression and information access over the internet spanning larger digital communications sphere.

Pakistan has a troubling history of online censorship, though such bans were short-lived and were eventually lifted in response to mass protests by the citizens. However, it has now been almost two months since access to YouTube was banned in Pakistan. This also includes several other websites, portals and online newspapers. Additionally, the past few months have seen the Government actively implementing kill switch, blocking cellphone communications of citizens at every instance it deems fit.

As awareness is seeping in, more citizens are gradually learning that as per international consensus apt for the 21st century, internet freedom is an essential indicator of flourishing democracy in any society. In addition, freedom of expression, access to information and freedom of choice are fundamental human rights.

The current wave of mass censorship encompassing all vistas of information and communication technologies are particularly against any global human rights standards or principles to which Pakistan is also a signatory. Such bans have resulted extremely negatively in academic losses to students, business losses to entrepreneurs, and a state of overall uncertainty and frustration among masses.

It’s not YouTube, it’s OurTubeIt’s not YouTube, it’s OurTubeAccess Is My Right campaign aims to depict all such miseries and sufferings of masses that censorship can negatively impact.

This campaign is a call for larger human rights movement in the country and citizens to fight the ongoing censorship as it will further take its toll on already compromised civil liberties in the country. All individuals who have been affected by online censorship, or are against the idea of internet and communications bans are invited to join the movement and protest by sharing the campaign visuals over the internet as much as they can.

This space is also open to anybody who wishes to contribute in this campaign by sending any creative material that can be shared widely with the masses.

Say NO to censorship and communication bans, because Access Is Our Right!

More information about the campaign is at http://www.accessismyright.pk/

(END/2012)

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