Pakistan Cyber Crime Law and the Social Media

Pakistan Cyber Crime Law and the Social Media

Since the past few years’ social media including Facebook, twitter etc. has become the main source of people to get updated with what’s happening in surrounding nationally and internationally. Due to an easy approach to internet, people started relying on social media for latest news.

As public figures and main stream media houses has have their authentic / verified accounts so it’s a bit reliable source. On the other hand people use to express their healthy and critic views on social media regarding hot issues. Furthermore it has become the medium of several criminal activities.

Only a few days ago cyber crime bill was presented in National Assembly by State Minister of information technology and telecommunications Miss Anushay Rehman. National assembly has passed it and speaker NA moved it to senate, where it got passed unanimously with simple majority after several amendments. Terrorism, electronic fraud, forgery, hate speech, pornographic materials involving children, hacking etc will be punishable under the law. “The aim of Cyber Crime bill 2016 is not to punish the innocent users of internet” said by Anushay rehman.

This act fully opposes unhealthy criticism including abusing and making fun of public figures. Although it’s good to halt abusive criticism but on the other hand it is totally against the freedom of speech of social media activists and common people as well.

Nobody would be allowed to make parody accounts of celebrities. Although these were for entertainment but after this these would be strictly prohibited. As it’s an act for all so it should be implemented on all public figures, social media icons, law makers including general public. This act is highly controversial so let’s see what will be the future of this act. Following are some salient features of this act:

  • Up to Seven year imprisonment and/ or PKR 10 million fine for hate speech, or trying to create disputes and spread hatred on the basis of religion or sectarianism.
  • Up to five year imprisonment and/ or PKR 5 million fine for transferring or copying of sensitive basic information.
  • Up to PKR 50 thousand fine for sending messages irritating to others or for marketing purposes. If the crime is repeated, the punishment would be three months imprisonment and a fine of up to PKR 1 million rupees.
  • Up to three year imprisonment and a fine of up to PKR 0.5 million for creating a website for negative purposes.
  • Up to one year imprisonment or a fine of up to PKR 1 million for forcing an individual for immoral activity, or publishing an individual’s picture without consent, sending obscene messages or unnecessary cyber interference.

(Writer: Dr. NABEEL ALVI)