Friday July 19, 2024

Twitter asked to block malicious content against judiciary

By Mehtab Haider
April 13, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) has approached the top management of micro blogging platform Twitter at its regional headquarter Singapore for extending warning to immediately block/remove malicious trends and tweets vilifying superior judiciary of the country. “Twitter has particularly been informed that presence of such content and trends do not come under the definition of freedom of expression and hence must be taken down instantly as “Contempt of Court” is one of the categories that holds high priority for the Authority,” the official statement issued by PTA stated here on Monday.

The PTA extended warning by stating that “the platform has also been directed to effectively and expeditiously respond to PTA’s requests for removal of illegal and harmful online content to avoid any legal action”.

PTA remains committed to facilitate and support digital platforms provided they remain compliant with laws of the land. However, the sources said that the PTA has written official communication by citing article 37 of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) under which PTA possessed powers to block or remove certain online information.

The sources said that in recent days and weeks, there were certain twitter trends where the judiciary was maligned after verdict on cases of political nature. The PTA contacted to Twitter several times in the past but such trends continued.

The article 37 of PECA stated that the unlawful online content could be blocked as;

(1) The Authority shall have the power to remove or block or issue directions for removal or blocking of access to an information through any information system if it considers it necessary in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defence of Pakistan or any part thereof, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court or commission of or incitement to an offence under this Act.

(2) The Authority shall, with the approval of the Federal Government, prescribe rules providing for, among other matters, safeguards, transparent process and effective oversight mechanism for exercise of powers under sub-section (1).

(3) Until such rules are prescribed under sub-section (2), the Authority shall exercise its powers under this Act or any other law for the time being in force in accordance with the directions issued by the Federal Government not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act.

(4) Any person aggrieved from any order passed by the Authority under sub-section (1), may file an application with the Authority for review of the order within thirty days from the date of passing of the order.

(5) An appeal against the decision of the Authority in review shall lie before the High Court within thirty days of the order of the Authority in review.