Ministry of information Technology informed the Lahore High Court (LHC) that it had issued policy guidelines to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) for effective monitoring and to restrict any offensive or blasphemous content on the internet in Pakistan.
As per these policy guidelines, PTA should establish a complaint cell to avoid access of offensive information from public domain and take preventive measures to block the same.
Any web-site at URL or IP level would be blocked after proper investigation by inter-ministerial committee for the valuation of web-sites at the receipt of information or complaint from any source, as soon as information is received by the IT ministry.
The committee will evaluate reported content provided through Internet with the view to determine its suitability for display or hosting it on Pakistani portal. On the recommendation of the committee, federal government should issue directive to PTA for blocking web-sites which contained material like information pertaining to any objectionable content that undermine Islam or ridicule, disparage or attack any religion, ethnic group, region, or any group’s reverend practices.
Sites that would bring contempt to the country or its people so as to undermine integrity and solidarity of the state, violate any provision of the constitution or law of the land, promotes or support sedition, terrorism, anarchy or violence in the country or bring contempt to the defense forces, police, air force or other institution of government or to divulge any secret information relating to defense and other services.
Sites that contain propaganda in favour of any foreign state or against any friendly foreign state, or hurt national sentiments. In case of any information received by complaint cell about said materials, would be blocked as soon as possible but not later than 24 hours subject to approval of evaluation committee.
The committee will refer all objectionable web-sites to PTA for blockage of such web-sites through its telecom licensees as the case maybe. In case of any criminal proceedings, the committee will forward the cases to FIA to take action under relevant law. However, PTA will provide information through its licensees to FIA in such cases. Meanwhile, PTA also told the court that under Pakistan telecommunication (re-organisation) Act 1996, it had not been given mandate to regulate contents transmitted through Internet. All policy directives on the matters related to telecommunication were issued by federal government, and PTA only implemented the same.