The Asia Internet Coalition (AIC) wants the Government of Pakistan to consult these newly released social media regulations with the authorities and reconsider it because it will threaten freedom of expression.
The Authorities in Pakistan on Wednesday approved some new regulations secretly in which they are restricting social media companies. Thing become clearer when a copy of these regulations was leaked online. According to this document “Citizens Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules, 2020”, all the social media companies will have to register themselves with the government of Pakistan. This includes companies like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, and they only have three months before these new rules will be implemented. And it doesn’t end here they will also have to register their office in Islamabad and with this, they will have to establish one or more than one server here in Pakistan within only 1 year. All the online or stored data will be under the boundaries of Pakistan which will help the people of Pakistan with the privacy of the data.
Now the Asia Internet Coalition (AIC) seems concerned about these regulations as these will change the way these social media companies operate in Pakistan. The AIC works as an industry association that promotes the understanding of Internet policy issues in the Asia Pacific region. And they comprise companies like Amazon, Airbnb, Apple, Booking.com, Expedia Group, Facebook, Grab, Google, LinkedIn, LINE, Rakuten, Twitter and Yahoo (Oath).
In a statement released on Thursday, AIC managing director Jeff Paine said: “The Asia Internet Coalition is deeply concerned to see the Pakistan Government release a set of broad-reaching online rules without any consultation with stakeholders, including industry.” He also added “These rules jeopardize the personal safety and privacy of citizens, and undermine free expression. We urge the government to reconsider these rules, which are likely to be detrimental to Pakistan’s ambitions for a digital economy,”