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‘Immoral content’ on social media will now be punished

— afp/file

The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications on Thursday issued the Social Media Rules 2021, under which authorities will take action against anyone who posts “immoral content” on social media platforms.

Federal Information and Technology Minister Amin-ul-Haq said in a statement that the amended rules would give Pakistani consumers “absolute freedom of expression” under Article 19 of the Constitution, although “immoral and obscene” material would be promoted. considered a crime.

The federal minister said the rules would act as an important bridge between Pakistani users and social media institutions, while companies would have to comply with local laws and ensure users’ rights.

Haq said the rules would ban live streaming of extremist, terroristic, hateful, obscene and violent material, adding that social media outlets would be required to remove content that violates Pakistan’s “dignity and security”.

The federal minister said that in view of the new rules, negative material against people and material related to the personal life of others will be banned.

Similarly, material against the cultural and moral values ​​of Pakistan, the mental and physical development of children will be banned, the federal minister said.

The new rules direct social media companies to ensure the following within three months of their coming into force:

  • Register yourself with Pakistan Telecom (PTA);
  • appoint an authorized compliance officer based in Pakistan to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Act;
  • Appoint a dedicated Grievance Officer based in Pakistan for redressal of complaints received by him against online content.

‘Unnecessary layer’

Director of digital rights firm Bolobhi Usama Khilji said the new rules add another “unnecessary layer” to the government’s social media management, as he criticized the move.

“The composition and presidency of this working group is dictating the state’s approach to social media matters: headed by the National Security Adviser, missing the Human Rights Ministry, bypassing the IT Ministry, which is responsible for coordinating these matters. should, and ignore the heavily funded digital media wing of the government,” he said.

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