Govt invites social media companies for consultation on Citizen Protection Rules 2020

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Govt invites social media companies for consultation on Citizen Protection Rules 2020
  • We are fully cognizant of the critical role played by Technology Companies in promoting the digital economy and freedom of expression, says PTA.
  • AIC in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Imran Khan warned that the government’s new rules to regulate social media activity will make it “extremely difficult” for digital companies to operate in Pakistan.

Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA), has invited the Asia Internet Coalition (AIC), for the ongoing consultation process over Citizens Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules, 2020.

In a letter, PTA Chairman Amir Azeem Bajwa said, “Government of Pakistan and Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) is a strong proponent of Digital Pakistan and freedom of expression over the Internet. We are fully cognizant of the critical role played by Technology Companies in promoting the digital economy and freedom of expression.

“I am sure you are aware that in order to assuage concerns expressed by AIC and other segments of society over the subject Rules, Prime Minister of Pakistan has directed to constitute a Consultation Committee to undertake open and broad-based consultation with all stakeholders. Accordingly, the implementation of the Rules has been suspended and consultation / review process initiated. In this context, on behalf of the Consultation Committee, I would like to formally invite AIC and its members for the consultation process,” the letter read.

The invitation comes weeks after the AIC in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Imran Khan warned that the government’s new rules to regulate social media activity will make it “extremely difficult” for digital companies to operate in Pakistan.

The AIC Managing Director Jeff Paine expressed concern that unless revoked, “these rules would severely cripple the growth of Pakistan’s digital economy”.

The AIC which is an industry association that promotes the understanding and resolution of internet policy issues in the Asia Pacific region comprises leading internet and technology companies, including Facebook, Twitter, Google, Amazon, Apple, and Yahoo (Oath).

The Consultation Committee meeting with AIC is expected to be held next week.

Business Recorder