New rules to counter obscene, defamatory social media content
The federal cabinet has approved rules for social media regulation under a new title. What was previously called the Online Harm to Persons Rules has now been replaced with Removal and Blocking Unlawful Online Content, 2020.
The new law has, however, been approved by the cabinet. According to the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications, an official notification will be passed in a few days.
The new rules will counter the flow of illegal, blasphemous, obscene and defamatory content on social media. “The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) will not restrict or disrupt the flow or dissemination of any online content except in the case of removing and blocking access to online content which goes against the interest of Islam, integrity, security and defence of Pakistan, public order, public health, public safety, decency and morality,” it stated.
All social media companies such as TikTok, Facebook. Instagram and Twitter will have to put up community guidelines for its users. Platforms with more than half a million Pakistani users will have to get registered with thePTA and establish a registered office in the country within nine months of the implementation of the rules.
Within three months of the office’s establishment, a focal person will have to be appointed for coordination and a data server system has to be set up within 18 months.
The rules will also be applied to internet service providers.
All companies and providers have been instructed to restrict content that is against the security, prestige and defence of the country.