PM types physique on guidelines for regulation of social media

ISLAMABAD: The Prime Minister has set up a Social Media Rules Committee to protect fundamental rights to freedom of expression and the right to information.

According to a statement by the Attorney General for the Pakistani office, the PM office formed the committee under Directive No. 597 / SPM / 2021 of March 29, 21st, under the direction of Federal Minister for Human Rights, Dr. Shireen Mazari, consisting of the Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Maleeka Ali Bukhari, Senator Syed Ali Zafar, the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications and the Chairman of the PTA.

The Information Technology and Telecommunications Department acts as the committee’s secretariat.

The committee submits its report to the Prime Minister, together with related recommendations, within one month.

The committee will begin its work and the Secretariat will inform the public of the date and location of consultations with all parties, including those who have petitions to the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

The Pakistani Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), the Pakistani Bar Council and a TikToker, Ashfaq Jutt, had questioned the PTA’s social media rules at the IHC.

The PFUJ has asked the court to remove the removal and blocking of illegal online content (procedure, supervision and protective measures), Rules, 2020, and declared that the rules were “unconstitutional”.

The PTA established these rules and the IT department announced them on November 19th.

The PTA is empowered to do so under Section 37 Subsection (2) of the Electronic Crime Prevention Act 2016, which deals with “Unlawful Online Content”.

AGP Khalid Jawed Khan had assured the court that the government would review the rules.

He had therefore carried out a consultation with the petitioners and expressed interest in the considerations on the social media rules “Removal and blocking of illegal online content (procedures, monitoring and protective measures), Rules 2020”.

The AGP later recommended to the Prime Minister that further and wide-ranging consultations were needed to establish comprehensive rules for social media regulation that protect fundamental rights of freedom of expression and information under Articles 19 and 1 19-A of the Constitution and to ensure that Social media platforms are not abused and material is not distributed in violation of the law.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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