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APP
February 14, 2020

Social media firms will have to open offices in Pakistan: PM’s aide

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A
APP
February 14, 2020

­ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said on Thursday under the Citizens Protection [against Online Harm] Rules 2020, social media companies would have to open offices in Pakistan, follow laws of the land, and get registered and share their data with the authority concerned.

Talking to newspersons outside the Parliament House, she said framing rules was necessary for stopping online propaganda against national solidarity and spread of sectarian hate material.

Awan said at present, there was no mechanism in Pakistan for the regulation of social media, which was being used to spread material against socio-cultural and religious values. The government had to appeal the social media companies for the removal of objectionable material.

She said the rules were made for the protection of ideological and geographical boundaries of the country and rights of consumers. After their implementation, social media companies would be bound to remove objectionable material within six to 24 hours, she added.

She rubbished the claim the rules were being made to impose restrictions on freedom of expression, which were in fact aimed at facilitating the consumers and protecting the national interests. The social media companies would have the right to appeal against the decision of the authority concerned in a high court, she added. She said with the implementation of rules, the payment of millions of dollars to the social media companies would also be regulated through a mechanism.

Meanwhile, Awan said Prime Minister Imran Khan at a high-level meeting has directed provinces to make a comprehensive plan of action to strictly deal with the elements involved in adulteration of edibles items. The meeting was attended by representatives from all the four provinces to control inflation, adulteration and hoarding.

The Prime Minister, she said, was informed the prices of edible items, including flour, sugar, rice, pulses and edible oil, remained stable in the country. He, however, expressed reservations over the price of wheat flour in Karachi.