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Pak's new social media rules give more powers to govt, companies to be fined up to Rs 500 million for violations

ANI | Updated: Oct 15, 2021 19:25 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], October 15 (ANI): Pakistan's Ministry of Information and Technology announced new social media rules on Thursday that 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.
Under the new rules titled the 'Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content (Procedure, Oversight and Safeguards) Rules, 2021', the social media companies will have to register with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) within three months, and establish offices in the country "as and when feasible", according to Dawn.
As per the fresh rules, not only the social media companies but also the service providers are responsible to deploy, through Online Information Systems, mechanisms to ensure immediate blocking of live streaming of content relating to terrorism, hate speech, pornography, and anti-national security matter on receiving intimation from PTA, said Dawn.

"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 Dawn report.
While 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 have to specify reasons for the "emergency" in writing.
As per the rules, social media companies could be fined up to Rs 500 million for various violations.
The fresh rules also state that the social media companies will have to appoint an authorised compliance officer and grievance officer based in Pakistan.
In November 2020, the first version of the social media rules was notified, which had resulted in serious backlash from several quarters, including civil society activists, media and social media companies and even the internet service providers. (ANI)