On 25th November last year, in an attempt to contain the hate spewed during a violent protest in the heart of the capital city Islamabad, the Federal Government decided to take censorship in Pakistan to a new high by shutting down all the broadcast news channels. After jamming the upload to Pak-Sat, the Federal Government realised that broadcast news outlets are using news websites, and social media platforms to stream their live feeds, realising which the telecom regulator moved to block access to some two dozen news websites, and popular social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Citizens of Pakistan have suffered internet censorship, media blackouts, and even network shutdowns, but this move was unprecedented. Never have we, even in the era of the dictators, experienced such a blackout where access to social media platforms and news and information online and through broadcast outlets were simultaneously blocked. The blackout lasted for 30 hours and as expected it affected people all around the country. To make things worse, the GSM networks including the mobile internet was shut down in most of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, creating chaos everywhere.