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‘New social media rules will cripple Pakistan’s digital economy’, AIC warns in a letter to PM Khan

The Asia Internet Coalition (AIC) is an association representing the social media giants in Asia.

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AIC

The Asia Internet Coalition (AIC) has written a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan, after the PTI government approved new rules for social media companies. AIC is an association which represents social media giants including Facebook and Twitter in Asia.

The letter warns that the incumbent government’s new rules for social media companies are extremely stringent, and would ‘severely cripple’ Pakistan’s digital economy. Not only would it make it difficult for the new international businesses to penetrate in the Pakistani market, but would also limit the growth opportunities for existing businesses.

The letter addressing the PM further adds that since no other country has laws of such nature for social media companies, the new policy would ostracize Pakistan. The document states that with the new policy, Pakistan is at risk of becoming a “global outlier, needlessly isolating and depriving Pakistani users and businesses from the growth potential of the internet economy”.

~ Read the entire letter HERE.

The Citizens Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules, 2020:

The PTI-led government recently introduced a comprehensive policy for social media companies. It is mandatory for them to follow the set of instructions if they want to keep operating in Pakistan.

The instructions are as follows:

  • The social media companies (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Tik Tok) must establish their offices in Islamabad within three months.
  • The social media companies must appoint a focal person for Pakistan.
  • The social media companies need to create a data server in Pakistan within a year to protect user data.
  • If complaints are received, the companies will have to prohibit content and videos, etc.
  • If companies do not comply with the rules within three months, they are liable to a fine of up to Rs500 million.
  • All the social media companies will be answerable to the National Coordination Authority (NCA).
  • Any decision made by the NCA can be challenged in the High Court within 30 days.
  • The Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) will have access to blasphemous and objectionable content against national institutions.
  • Anyone who posts against national institutions even from abroad will be held accountable.
  • If the content is not removed, NCA can block the social media company from operating in Pakistan.

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