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Fawad Chaudhry reveals govt’s policies to be adopted for social media platforms

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Fawad Chaudhry, has reiterated its demand for regulating all social media platforms including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and others in order to void its wrong usage, ARY News reported on Monday.

Fawad Chaudhry, while talking exclusively to ARY News programme ‘Power Play’, urged to regulate social media platforms in order to ensure for stopping its wrong usage. He alleged that different companies and segments of the society were running propaganda over the laws.

He asked critics to spot legal flaws in the regulations, however, he admitted that the laws shouldn’t be misused by the governments as a political tool to suppress criticism lodged by its opponents. However, the debate for leaving the platforms unregulated is completely useless, he added.

Read: IT Ministry releases Statutory Regulatory Orders for social media

“I accept that right to expression is a fundamental right but there are three more fundamental rights we should also discuss here including the right of honour, right of privacy and the right of dignity. It is not a good tradition to defame others or attack privacy through a YouTube channel.”

“Social media is not left unregulated nowhere across the globe, hence, the debate should not be opened whether to bring the platforms within the boundaries of laws. The plan to regulate social media is not part of a political tactic [against opponents] and the high court will also give recommendations on it.”

“We witness many groups exist on social media [platforms] including Facebook and Twitter being engaged in criticism for the whole day. These groups have been created with the cost of Rs30,000. Are these groups are in favour of rights of dignity and honour nor crossing any boundary?”

Read: Pakistan achieves major breakthrough with social media giants: sources

The minister said it is important to scrutinise the way of implementing the laws. He admitted that the laws of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) were also used positively and negatively, however, it is unworthy to launch criticism on regulations.

When questioned for the federal government’s attempt to secretly enforcing the laws without holding any debate in the Parliament, Fawad Chaudhry rejected the claims by saying that the regulations had discussed in the parliament in 2016 and it is a part of Section 22 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) 2016.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Statutory Notification issued by the Ministry of Information Technology with a list of Statutory Regulatory Orders (SROs) to regulate social media received criticism across Pakistan.

Read: Fawad Chauhdry says regulating social media is in public interest

Earlier on February 14, Fawad Chaudhry had said that regulating social media is in public interest.

In his tweet, Fawad Chaudhry said, one cannot criticize the United States of America (USA) and United Kingdom (UK) over strict regulations but for Pakistan, some elements want zero regulation.

The minister further wrote that to bring companies in Pak economic laws framework registration is imperative and the law regarding regulation of the social media was passed in the tenure of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

OBLIGATIONS OF SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANY AND SPECIAL MEASURES

Under the order social media companies must comply with the demands of the social media coordinator which may include the following:

  • The mentioned website must remove objectionable content within 24 hours of being notified.
  • If the content is deemed extremely insensitive then the social media platform must remove the notified object within 6 hours.
  • Social Media must uphold religious and security related sensitivities of the region they are operated in.
  • Social media websites must ensure the curtailment of content related to extremism and/or hate speech.
  • Stopping the influx of fake news and live streams that could compromise national security.

It has also been revealed that social media giants are directed to open Pakistan offices soon enough and register themselves with the government.

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