ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Wednesday directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to formulate standard operating procedure (SOP) framework for social media.
The main aim is to allow social media to be used as a medium to facilitate positive, constructive and healthy interactions and an engine of growth and a platform to promote exchange of ideas rather than to propagate false information, pass defamatory comments, ridicule or humiliate sacred personalities, national institutions or jeopardise social, religious and cultural values of any community.
The minister directed that initial draft of the SOPs should be prepared in a weeks’ time for further consideration.
The interior minister has also asked Speaker National Assembly to convene a meeting of representatives of all political parties to develop consensus for a framework to ensure that social media platforms are used in a positive manner.
The minister directed Chairman NADRA and PTA to review relevant laws and regulatory frameworks of neighbouring democratic countries and developed nations to devise a system that ensures freedom of expression while simultaneously checking unbridled misuse of social media.
He also directed Chairman PTA to consult all stakeholders including service providers, civil society and media to set guidelines, supported by the legal framework, to regulate the use of social media for constructive purposes and nation-building process.
The minister has also asked Foreign Office to contact OIC Secretary General to convene a meeting, which Pakistan is willing to host, on the issue of blasphemous content on social media as committed during his last visit to Pakistan.
Ch. Nisar said that it is the obligation of a democratic government to ensure and protect the right of every citizen for the freedom of expression, but is equally bound by the law and constitution of the country to protect citizens and institutions from the assault carried out through social media under the garb of freedom of expression.
He observed that no conscientious person could be a silent spectator to the threat posed to the socio-cultural values institutions and younger generations propagated by a section of social media.
He said that the right to free speech is stitched to the sense of responsibility and ownership. Anonymous users thorough fake identities feel no qualms in misusing the right of expression and infringing the rights of others who are deeply affected by their imprudent actions.