Government issues notification of social media rules?

ISLAMABAD: A formal notification of social media rules has been issued. According to reports, the Ministry of Information Technology in Pakistan has issued a formal notification of social media rules.

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According to sources, the government has issued a notification in this regard on social media blasphemy, religious hatred, Pakistan’s dignity, security, defense, federal and provincial government, law enforcement agencies, intelligence agencies, politicians, cultural and moral values. Relevant companies are bound to block content, against ideological basis and cultural values.

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If the PTA decision is not implemented, the relevant social media company or website will be completely blocked. The government says the decision will not restrict freedom of expression.

According to the notification, service providers and social media companies with more than 500,000 subscribers will be required to register with the PTA and set up a registered office in Pakistan, especially in Islamabad, within nine months of the application of the rules.

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Under the new rules, which will be introduced for the first time in Pakistan, PTA will ban service providers for posting defamatory, blasphemous, obscene images on social media or any website, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok, Google Plus and LinkedIn. Freedom of expression will be taken care of under the draft.

It is also being informed that, under sub-section 1 of section 37 of these rules, anti-Islamic content, Pakistan Penal Code and anti-national security content will be removed.

Under sections 292, 293, 294 and 509 of the Pakistan Penal Code, immoral content can be banned and the spread of false information can be stopped.

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Anyone can file a complaint against online content. For the protection of the complainant, his/her identity will be kept confidential by the authority. The registered complaint will be dealt with by the authority within 30 days.

Before the authority issues a decision, the social media company, Internet service provider, will allow the website owner 24 hours to remove the content.

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In case of emergency, the removal of online content can be ordered within 6 hours. If the internet service provider, the social media company, or the website owner does not remove the illegal content, the PTA will be able to take action against them.

In the event of a complaint, the PTA will be able to obtain expert opinion. Internet service providers, social media companies, and website owners will publish guidelines on access to information.

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