Violations of Fundamental Rights: State Must Stop Restricting Citizen’s Rights To Communicate
October 3’ 2013: According to media reports the Sindh Government has decided to impose a ban on instant messaging and voice over internet protocol (VOIP) clients Skype, Viber, Tango and Whatsapp for three months in Sindh. Reports suggest that this ban is being put in place for security reasons and the decision was reached during a high level meeting with the Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah. This is not the first time communication has been blocked citing security reasons. In the past year alone, the government blocked cellular services over a dozen times.
This is a violation of fundamental rights of citizens and an acceptance from the government that they have failed to uphold law & order by resorting to ad hoc measuring and disrupting communications. Access should not be a victim to national security.
The government must focus on improving the law and order situation in the city instead of further restricting the rights of its citizens. There are other, more efficient methods to counter terrorism without compromising citizen’s basic rights to access and communication.
Ad hoc blocking and restrictions on communications reflects a flawed and dysfunctional counter-terrorism policy. Such measures only create more problems for the citizens. The Government must ensure the right to life, dignity without taking away their basic rights that compromise their security as well as their peace of mind.
Bolo Bhi means ‘Speak up’, in Urdu. We are a not-for-profit registered under the Societies Act XXI of 1860. Bolo Bhi is geared towards gender rights, government transparency, internet access, digital security and privacy. We are a team of individuals with diverse backgrounds who are passionate about the same causes and believe it is crucial to bridge the gap between rights advocates, policy makers, media and citizens. It is by bridging this gap that one can move ahead to chart a way forward and resolve issues through consensus.