Pakistan all set to launch strong internet rules with wide powers of censorship

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Pakistan all set to launch strong internet rules with wide powers of censorship

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is all set to roll out new internet rules that critics say will give the government wide powers of censorship after rejecting requests from social media companies for consultation.

The country already has media regulations that adhere to conservative social customs. Last month, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) blocked TikTok for failing to filter out “immoral and indecent” content.

The new rules were approved initially by Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet in February.

They give the PTA “removal and blocking” powers of digital content that “harms, intimidates or excites disaffection” towards the government or poses a threat to the “integrity, security and defence of Pakistan”.

A service provider or social media company could face a fine up to 500 million rupees ($3.14 million) for non-compliance, which would in turn trigger a mechanism preventing the uploading and live streaming, particularly related to “terrorism, hate speech, pornography, incitement to violence and detrimental to national security”.