Islamabad, 27th March 2020
Media Matters for Democracy highlights the increasing digital divide during Covid-19 through its news website the ‘Digital Rights Monitor’ and warns the government of the potential extremely negative impact on Pakistani citizens.
In a news article published on DRM, the author and MMFD’s Program Manager, Hija Kamran, talks about the limited access of Internet in Pakistan, and the impact it creates during the lockdown when citizens who depend on communal Internet access are limited to their homes and thus unable to access any digital services.
The news article also talks about the provision of aid by the government through digital services and thereby widening the digital gap further, since the majority of those who cannot access the Internet are also the poorest and in many cases most vulnerable.
According to official figures, there are 76 million mobile Internet and 78 million broadband subscribers in Pakistan, however, a vast majority of them are overlapping, leaving the actual Internet penetration in Pakistan to only 30% to 35%. More importantly, the remaining more or less 70% of the citizens who cannot access the Internet are either living below or on the borderline of the line of poverty.
The digital divide during pandemic becomes extremely pronounced, especially when the majority of precautionary information from Covid-19 and the aid disbursement programs for the poor are rolled-out mainly through the digital mediums i.e. mobile phone apps and the Internet.
Read the full story here on Digital Rights Monitor: http://digitalrightsmonitor.pk/coronavirus-crisis-highlights-digital-divide-in-pakistan/