Left Menu
Development News Edition

Watchdog slams new social media measures in Pakistan


Watchdog slams new social media measures in Pakistan
Representative Image

Islamabad, Feb 14 (AFP) A leading media rights watchdog has slammed new regulatory measures targeting social media platforms in Pakistan where the media have been subjected to growing censorship and pressure following the election of Prime Minister Imran Khan in 2018. According to a draft of the law seen by AFP, the new measures announced earlier this week would pave the way for allowing Pakistani authorities to ask for the removal of content, disable encryption, and demand companies open offices and host data centres inside the country.

"These stringent but vague rules approved by Pakistan's federal cabinet threaten the ability of journalists to report the news and communicate with their sources," said Steven Butler, Committee to Protect Journalists' Asia programme coordinator. "The cabinet should immediately reverse course and seek broad consultations with legislators and civil society, including the media, on how to proceed with any such regulations." Pakistan's science and technology ministry Fawad Chaudhry defended the measures.

"Now we have a regulation to control the harmful content on social media, but it has nothing to do with the political content," the minister told AFP Friday. "If anyone has a better suggestion for this mechanism and to support freedom of expression, we will listen." Pakistani legal expert Yasser Hamdani however described the measures as "unconstitutional", saying the law was "designed to curb freedom of speech and expression in the country".

Facebook declined to comment on the new measures when contacted by AFP, while Twitter and YouTube did not respond to inquiries. In recent years the space for dissent has shrunk further in Pakistan, with the government announcing a crackdown on social networks and traditional media houses decrying pressure from authorities they say has resulted in widespread self-censorship.

Pakistan has a long history of targeting social media sites, including famously blocking Facebook for two weeks in 2010 over blasphemous content and barring YouTube from 2012 to 2016 because of a film about the Prophet Mohammed that led to violent protests across the Muslim world. (AFP) AMS AMS

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Download The Devdiscourse News App for Latest News.


TRENDING

OPINION/BLOG/INTERVIEW

Future of Food: Technology fostering the road to global food security

Technological innovation can help address most of the pressing issues facing the world today including food security by enhancing productivity, improving financial services, managing resources, addressing environmental concerns, etc....

Conspiracy theories on COVID 19: Legislators, Scientists, and Journalists all joined the Caravan

Conspiracy theories are not new for virus epidemics. There have been conspiracy theories on HIV-AIDS, Polio Vaccines, Ebola Virus, and several other diseases as well. However, what makes the 2019 Novel Coronavirus different from others is ...

Now it’s a war, Uganda deploys army to combat locust swarms

Its for the first time after 1986, the locust swarms have attacked Uganda twice in a season. With the increasing number of countries of Africa under attack by locust swarms, the problem seems to have taken a regional paradigm. Its very diff...

Top 10 Fake News, Myths and Realities on 2019 Novel Coronavirus COVID 19

With nearly 1500 deaths by January 14 and around 65,000 infections in China, the Novel Coronavirus 2019 has become one of the worst health epidemics of the 21st Century. However, 8,573 people have been cured but the rumor mongers are a...

Videos

Latest News

UPDATE 2-Merkel's party, far-right AfD punished in German state vote

Voters handed Angela Merkels conservatives their worst ever result in Hamburg on Sunday, punishing them for flirting with the far-right in an eastern state and descending into a messy leadership battle. Projected results also indicated that...

UPDATE 3-Trains between Italy and Austria resume after passengers test negative for coronavirus

Austria suspended train services over the Alps to Italy for about four hours late on Sunday before restarting them after two travelers tested negative for coronavirus. A train carrying about 300 passengers from Venice, Italy, to Munich in G...

Earthquake kills nine in Turkey, injures dozens in Iran

A magnitude 5.7 earthquake in northwestern Iran on Sunday killed nine people, including children, in neighbouring Turkey and injured dozens on both sides of the border, authorities said. Ambulances and teams of medics rushed to the scene af...

Reuters World News Summary

Following is a summary of current world news briefs. Pope appears to give thumbs down to Trumps Mideast peace planPope Francis on Sunday warned against inequitable solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying they would only be a p...

Give Feedback