The United States has said that the “new restrictions” on social media platforms in Pakistan could be a “setback to freedom of expression and development of digital economy”.
In a statement on Twitter, the United States Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Alice Wells, called upon the Government of Pakistan to encourage discussion with stakeholders on the matter.
New restrictions on social media platforms in #Pakistan could be setback to freedom of expression & development of digital econ. Unfortunate if Pakistan discourages foreign investors & stifles domestic innovation in such a dynamic sector. Encourage discussion w/ stakeholders. AGW
— State_SCA (@State_SCA) February 25, 2020
The statement comes following journalist organisations, social society, legal fraternity, social media activists and the opposition political parties rejected the PTI government’s new social media regulations, describing these as yet another effort to “silence the dissenting voices of journalists and a common man”.
On January 28, the federal cabinet approved the “Citizens Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules, 2020,” a set of regulations on social media content on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and other social media networks.
In a recent statement, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), also expressed concerns over the new social media regulations and urged the Government of Pakistan to immediately withdraw a set of social media regulatory measures.