The government is planning to impose new rules that could radically redefine the digital landscape of Pakistan, ProPakistani reported Wednesday.
According to reports, the government wants to curb blasphemous content for social media and the new rules would allow institutions to control all online content in the country.
The new rules — named the Citizens Protection Against Online Harm Rules — are a sort of extension of legislation like the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) and would allow the government to bypass industry stakeholders following approval of the federal cabinet.
While the document (available here courtesy of Digital Rights Monitor) talks about social media companies, the definition for “social media companies” is broad enough to bring any company with an online presence under its ambit. If companies don’t abide by any of the rules in the 14-page document, they’ll be blocked in Pakistan.
The move comes days after a Senate panel rejected a proposed move to be initiated by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) for regulating web TV and over-the-top (OTT) media service in the country following the authority failed to establish its jurisdiction for doing so before the house’s body.
The Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights which met with Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar in the chair held a detailed discussion on PEMRA’s proposal of regulating web TV and OTT content.