Government conducted the first meeting of the Consultation Committee on Citizen Protection (Against online harm) Social Media Rules 2020 at headquarters Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in view of criticizing from digital media groups in Pakistan.
PTA said in statement that the Committee decided in a meeting for immediately initiate a broad based on open consultation process with all stakeholders from civil society, human & digital rights groups, social media platforms (technology companies) & media.
PTA added that a questionnaire seeking input from all stakeholders will be posted on its website. A tentative schedule for consultation process will also be posted on PTA website. The Committee encourages & solicits feedback from stakeholders including general public during consultation process.
The consultation meeting comes despite criticism from the digital rights group. Pakistan advocacy organization, the Digital Rights Forum (DRF) slammed the government’s decision to consult the Citizens Protection (Against Online Harm) social media rules 2020, as the government failed to clarify the ‘legal status’ of the rules.
DRF said in a statement after attending meeting that “as the government refuses to clarify the legal status of the Social media Rules without which any consultation is merely token to deflect criticism and not a genuine exercise to seek input.”
Asia Internet Coalition (AIC), has voiced its concern over Pakistan’s Citizens Protection Rules (Against Online Harm) few days ago.
AIC wrote a letter addressing to Prime Minister Imran Khan that these rules will severely cripple the growth of Pakistan’s digital economy. No one country has announced such a sweeping set of rules, Pakistan risks becoming a global outlier, needlessly isolating and depriving Pakistani users and businesses from the growth potential of the internet economy.”