Pakistan Ranks 4th for Content Removal Requests to Facebook, Google: PTA

Pakistan comes in at number four, behind the US, in the list of countries requesting removal of undesired content to Google and Facebook, said Dr. Syed Ismail Shah, Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.

Dr. Shah said that most of the requests to Google and Facebook for removing or restricting undesired content come from the United States.

He was briefing a senate’s standing committee on telecom and IT that was chaired by Shahi Syed.

Chairman said that Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is lacking financial and human resources, which are major hurdles in countering the problem of blasphemous content on social media.

Pakistan has sent a written letter to Facebook and their officials will soon visit Pakistan, said PTA Chairman, adding that that 25 PTA officials are working on monitoring and immediately blocking any blasphemous content.

When asked if any requests were sent by Saudi Arabia to block blasphemous content, PTA officials said that they had neither heard nor had knowledge of any such requests by Riyadh.

PTA officials are also making efforts to develop a local mechanism to block undesired content, the officials said.

Experts and latest equipment are needed to develop such a mechanism which is costly, said the PTA chairman.

The PTA official expressed his reservations, saying that the PTA is required to submit audit papers and give explanations to the Public Accounts Committee when it undertakes such costly projects. To which the committee chairman assured the PTA that it would be supported at all levels.

The committee chairman said that steps need to be taken to block blasphemous and undesired content from social media. He said that PTA will also be facilitated if there’s a need for legislation or any amendment in legal framework.