With hefty fine, new social media rules give more teeth to Pakistan govt

WION Web Team
Islamabad Published: Oct 16, 2021, 04:26 PM(IST)

Australian government has been examining new legislation to tackle the problem of online trolls Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

New social media rules announced by the Pakistan's Ministry of Information and Technology will empower the telecom regulator to block any website or platform on the directives of court and federal government or under any law. The new rules have been titled as 'Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content (Procedure, Oversight and Safeguards) Rules, 2021' 

New social media rules announced by the Pakistan's Ministry of Information and Technology on Thursday will empower the telecom regulator to block any website or platform on the directives of court and federal government or under any law, reported local media.  

As per the new rules titled the 'Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content (Procedure, Oversight and Safeguards) Rules, 2021', the social media companies have to register with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) within three months. They will also have to establish offices in the country "as and when feasible", as per a Dawn report.  

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In the rules, it is the responsibility of not just the social media companies but also the service providers, to deploy mechanisms to ensure immediate blocking of live streaming of content relating to hate speech, pornography, terrorism and anti-national security matter on receiving intimation from PTA with the help of Online Information Systems, said the report.  

"PTA can give 48 hours to the service provider, social media company, significant social media company or user to comply with the directives of PTA for removing or blocking access to the content," said the report.

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In emergency cases, the body can give only 12 hours to the relevant user or social media company to remove or block access to online content. But the body will also have to specify reasons for the "emergency" in writing.  

As per the new rules, social media companies could be fined by up to Rs 500 million for different violations. These companies will also have to appoint an authorised compliance officer and grievance officer based in Pakistan, the rules said.  

(With inputs from agencies) 

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