IT ministry announces revised social media rules drafted under PECA

The Federal Minister for Information and Technology, Aminul Haque, said that all social media companies would abide by Pakistan's laws.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication notified the amended social media rules, which empower the government to take action against people posting “immoral content” on social media platforms.

The “Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content Rules, 2021” have been drafted under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (Peca), 2016.

The Federal Minister for Information and Technology, Aminul Haque, said that all social media companies would abide by Pakistan’s laws.

Key amendments to social media rules

  • Social media companies will have to register with PTA within three months.
  • Social media outlets will be obliged to establish an office in Pakistan “as and when feasible” — instead of nine months as required previously.
  • PTA will give 48 hours, instead of 24 hours previously, to a social media company for removing or blocking access to online content

Under the new rules, there would be a ban on the live streaming of terrorist, hateful, obscene, and violent content, and “social media companies will be liable to remove content against Pakistan’s honor and well-being.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan recently formed the National Social Media Coordination Working Group. Khan constituted NSMCWG to work on relevant policies related to Social Media, provide input to the government of Pakistan on social media-related issues, and engage with international social media companies in a coherent and coordinated manner.

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