The rise of digital authoritarianism: Evolving threats to media and internet freedoms in Pakistan

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Digital authoritarianism poses increasing challenges within both autocratic and democratic regimes. The evolving mechanisms of digital authoritarianism surpass national boundaries. Over the past decade they have advanced the interests of authoritarian states to undermine the freedoms of media and the Internet. In competitive authoritarian regimes, like Pakistan, digital authoritarianism has paved its way under democratic disguise. Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index 2020 indicates that the country ranks at 145 out of total 178 countries. Moreover, Freedom House’s Freedom on the Net 2020 survey reveals Pakistan among the worst ten countries in terms of Internet and digital media freedoms. Considering these facts, hence this study examines digital authoritarianism in the journalistic context. It explores evolving threats to media and internet freedoms due to the increasing authoritarian practices of Pakistan’s state authorities in digital realm. This is significant so as to unpack how the country’s authorities restrain media and Internet freedoms in the digital age. To achieve this aim, this study uses the qualitative method of online interviews and presents findings thematically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-34
Number of pages30
JournalWorld of Media
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Competitive authoritarian regime
  • Digital authoritarianism
  • Internet freedom
  • Media freedom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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