The Government announced new social media rules yesterday which not only included heavy fines up to Rs. 500 million but also aggressive deadlines to remove content. The stakeholders involved also include local Internet Service Providers as well as top social media giants. As was expected, almost all companies involved have rejected the proposed social media laws and have threatened to leave the country if they are not amended.
Asia Internet Coalition in a statement to Dawn.com regretted that the government didn’t involve all stakeholders to form social media laws. PM Imran Khan had earlier committed that the government will consult to frame a flexible strategy but now it seems they have taken another U-Turn. The new policies give a lot of power to PTA and the AIC has warned that if this continues, it will be extremely difficult for them to continue to provide services in Pakistan.
In a statement, AIC representative said:
“The draconian data localisation requirements will damage the ability of people to access a free and open internet and shut Pakistan’s digital economy off from the rest of the world.”
Meanwhile Nayatel’s CEO Wahaj Siraj also spoke out against the newly formed social media rules:
We will form a strategy against the Rules as they are contrary to several clauses of PECA, such as indemnity to the internet service providers
The Internet Service Providers of Pakistan (ISPAK) have also rejected the social media rules.
Meanwhile, a PTA official commented that the clauses included in the social media rules gazette were essential. This was due to the fact that the social media giants had no presence or office here in Pakistan yet they are conducting significant business here and paying content creators. Hence they have to brought to the law as and when required.