Google, Facebook and Twitter Alarm To Leave Pakistan Over New RulesNovember 21, 2020 08:46
(Image source from: hindustantimes.com)
After the Pakistan Government allowed blanket authorization to censor digital content that focused on cutting down the freedom of expression in the conservative Islamic nation, Internet and technology companies, have threatened to leave Pakistan.
Thursday’s admonition from Asia Internet Coalition, which represents global technology giants including Google, Facebook and Twitter, comes after the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan allowed enhanced powers to government media regulators on Wednesday.
The coalition said it was “alarmed by the scope of Pakistan’s new law targeting internet companies, as well as the government’s opaque process by which these rules were developed.”
As per the new regulations, sharing of content defaming islam, promoting terrorism, hate speech, pornography or any content viewed as endangering national security would cost social media companies or internet service providers a fine of up to $3.14 million.
As per Pakistan’s DAWN newspaper, social media companies are entitled to give Pakistan’s designated investigation agency “with any information or data in decrypted, readable and comprehensible format,”
Even Pakistan looks forward to social media companies to have their offices in the country.
The coalition said the “draconian data localization 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.” It said the new rules will make it difficult for its members “to make their services available to Pakistani users and businesses.”
Khan’s Government who constantly said that they were not against freedom of expression haven’t commented on this yet.
In 2018, after Khan’s government came to power, there was a delayed response in the removal of anti-Pakistan, obscene and sectarian-related content by social media sites. Thus, after a long observation these rules have been made.
As per new regulations, within 24 hours, after getting reports from the Pakistani authorities, social media companies must remove or block unlawful content from their websites.
Right after Khan’s Government banned the video-sharing platform TikTok for “immoral and indecent” content, these regulations have come up.
By Neha Makhija