Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has stated that it received north of 3000 complaints concerning blasphemous content on social media. An official of PTA told the National Assembly Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication that the blasphemous websites are already being blocked.
At the moment, the suspected accounts on social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube were being scrutinized before further action is taken. According to this official, up to 1600 websites had been found to have content that was classified as blasphemous.
During the same meeting, it was stated that a delegation from Facebook was to visit Pakistan next month to discuss the issue of blasphemous content and how it will help in this regard.
Another statement was issued by an FIA (Federal Investigation Agency) official who stated that the FIA has so far arrested four people who had been suspected of issuing blasphemous content on online platforms. This was after the March 2017 passing of the Cyber Crime Bill.
Those in attendance were evidently concerned about the aspect of objectionable and blasphemous content. They thus required the PTA, the Ministry, and the FIA to brief them on the steps being taken to prevent such content from finding its way to people’s online accounts. In response, the three organizations briefed those in attendance as far as the actions they are taking are concerned.
They also brought out the issue of those who were arrested in connection with the blasphemous content and what would be done to them. Their brief was appreciated by those in attendance.
The issue of blasphemous content online had been a contentious one with the government arm concerned with communication, the PTA, being drawn to the fact that serious steps need to be taken. With at least 3000 complaints being recorded by the PTA in this regard, the issue is a serious one. Facebook has even promised to help the government of Pakistan in taking the needed measures.