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February 15, 2020

HRCP rejects gagging of social media

National

 
February 15, 2020

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) on Friday rejected the approval given by the federal cabinet regarding a set of proposals seeking to unabashedly gag the media and curtail freedom of expression and digital rights of citizens online.

PBC Vice Chairman Abid Saqi, in a statement issued here, said that the Bar Council was extremely concerned that the Citizens Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules, 2020, reportedly approved by the federal cabinet to tighten and control social media in Pakistan, were made in a completely secretive manner without any consultation with the stakeholders, including the legal fraternity, media community and other civil rights groups.

He believes the PBC that the reported Rules, prima facie, seek to curb online free speech, invade privacy of citizens and restrict their access to information, and hence are not only in conflict with the spirit of articles 14, 19 and 19A of the Constitution of Pakistan but also against the principles of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which Pakistan is a signatory to.