Tue, 30 May 2023

Islamabad [Pakistan], April 1 (ANI): The Senate was informed that the government is working on legislation to compel social media platforms to register themselves in Pakistan, reported The Express Tribune.

During Question Hour, Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Rubina Khalid said that the government appeared to be helpless on the issue of blasphemous and derogatory content on the internet.

She added that the matter had been taken up several times during the meetings of the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and it was the responsibility of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to take action against such content, reported The Express Tribune.

Minister of State for Law and Justice Shahadat Awan replied that online hate speech against any religion would be blocked immediately.

Elaborating further, Awan maintained that around 35,000 pages on Facebook and over 5,000 Twitter handles had been blocked, adding that 5,800 accounts on YouTube had been blocked as well, reported The Express Tribune.

He further informed the House that the incumbent government was working on legislation to compel the social media platforms to register themselves in Pakistan.

He added that the prime minister had formed a National Social Working Committee in August last year to suggest proper legislation for this purpose.

Awan told the House that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had processed 59,253 URLs related to sectarian or hate speech complaints on social media so far, reported The Express Tribune.

Of the total complaints, 47,674 URLs had been blocked over hate speech till February, he added.

The state minister pointed out that the PTA had also blocked Wikipedia on the directives of the high court for 48 hours.

Awan explained that under Section 37 (1) of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (Peca) 2016, the PTA had been empowered to remove or block access to information through any system if it considered it necessary in the interest of the integrity, security or defence of Pakistan, reported The Express Tribune.

He continued that under Section 37 (2) of Peca, the federal government had approved the Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content (Procedure, Oversight and Safeguard), Rules, 2021. (ANI)

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