Govt. to Consult Stakeholders for Citizens Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules 2020

The government has constituted a committee to start the consultation process on Citizens Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules 2020, which attracted criticism from different segments of society.

It has notified Citizens Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules 2020 to ensure limiting online content related to terrorism, extremism, hate speech, defamation, fake news, incitement to violence and national security.

However, some segments of society termed it against the spirit of the Cyber Crimes Act as well as in contradiction to the Constitution.

The Asian Internet Coalition (AIC) also wrote a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan while Google, Facebook & other tech giants threaten to abandon Pakistan. Secretary Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui on Tuesday informed a parliamentary panel that Prime Minister has directed for broad based consultations with all stakeholders on the implementation of rules.

An official statement of IT Ministry issued here on Friday stated that in pursuance of the Prime Minister’s directions, a committee has been formed to start the consultation process on Citizens Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules 2020.

The committee comprises Amir Azeem Bajwa Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (Convener), Eazaz Aslam Dar Additional Secretary Ministry of IT & Telecom, Tania Aidrus Member of Strategic Reforms Implementation Unit Prime Minister Office Islamabad and Dr. Arslan Khalid Focal Person to the Prime Minister on Digital Media Prime Minister’s Office.

The committee will undertake an extensive and broad-based consultation process with all relevant segments of civil society and technology companies about these Rules. The process will be completed within two months.

Dr. Shireen Mazari, Minister for Human Rights and Barrister Ali Zafar will also be involved in consultations.

  • In a mature society and governance model, this is the logical step that is performed before implementing such regulations instead of reacting to threats by influential stakeholders and taking a rather defensive position in the consultation process that will now be pursued.

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