Federal Cabinet approves new social media regulatory policy

Federal cabinet on Friday, approved new social media regulatory policy titled ‘Removal and Blocking Unlawful Online Content 2020’.

The new ‘Removal and Blocking Unlawful Online Content 2020’ has replaced the previous social media regulatory policy named ‘Online Harm to Persons Rules’ which faced severe criticism from social media platforms and users alike.

The Ministry of Information and Technology and Telecommunications is expected to issue an official notification regarding the new social media regulatory policy.

The new policy is aimed to curb the flow, propagation and sharing of illegal, blasphemous, obscene and defamatory content on social media platforms.

“The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) will not restrict or disrupt the flow or dissemination of any online content except in the case of removing and blocking access to online content which goes against the interest of Islam, integrity, security and defense of Pakistan, public order, public health, public safety, decency and morality,” read the official statement.

Social media platforms such as TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others will be obligated to issue new guidelines in accordance with the new social media regulatory policy.

Furthermore, social media platforms with more than 500,000 users will be obligated to register themselves with PTA and will have to establish a registered office within a 9-months time period.

In addition to it, an official focal person will need to be appointed within the three months of office’s establishment, whereas the establishment of a data server system will have to be done within 18-months.