PTA Suggests Stringent Action Against Unregistered Social Media Companies

Web Desk – January 20, 2023

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has recommended action against unregistered social media companies in Pakistan. According to a PTA document, the Authority has approached the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) for seeking guidance and to advise further course of action against non-compliant social media platforms.

According to PTA, all major social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. have not responded positively to repeated directions of the Authority with respect to registration under Social Media Rules 2021. The social media platforms don’t consider themselves obligated to entertain the requests for blocking content in accordance with the laws of Pakistan. The response of some social media platforms is very weak regarding most sensitive blasphemous content.

PTA has suggested that no public sector entity (Federal or Provincial) shall engage in any initiative with unregistered social media platforms. The PTA has also suggested that the federal government may issue instructions to all relevant regulators like FBR, State Bank, and SECP to stop locally registered companies from doing business with non-registered and non-compliant social media companies.

PTA has recommended that, prior to any sort of engagement with social media platforms, the concerned entity shall first check the status of relevant platforms from PTA with respect to compliance with Social Media Rules. PTA will direct its licensees to stop facilitation/ advertising with non-compliant social media platforms.

The Authority has also proposed that in the case the companies still remain non-compliant with respect to registration and removal of reported unlawful content, especially blasphemous content then notices should be issued to social media companies, and fines shuld be imposed under new Social Media Rules.

According to PTA advice, periodic degradation of services of non-compliant platforms should be done under Rule 5(7)(ii)(a). If a company is non-compliant despite these notices and penalties the blocking of the entire online system should be done as per Rule 5(7) (ii)(b) as a last resort.

 

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