Islamabad: The federal government has approved rules and regulations governing social media in the country.
Under these rules, social media companies will be obliged to provide any information or data on behalf of an investigating agency and will be fined Rs.5 million if they do not provide any information.
The information it provides may include user information, traffic data or content details.
Under these rules, if a social media platform is identified as 'illegal content' in writing or electronically, they will be obliged to remove it within 24 hours while in an emergency within 6 hours.
In addition, these companies will have to establish a registered office in Islamabad with a working address within the next 3 months.
In addition, these companies will have to deploy their focal person to cooperate with the relevant authorities in Pakistan within 3 months and set up one or more database servers within 12 months to secure and record online content.
When contacted, Secretary Information Technology Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui told Dawn that the rules and regulations were approved by the cabinet at its January 28 meeting and voted that no new legislation was needed.
"This is a legislature under the Pakistan Telecommunications (Reorganization) Act 1996 and the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016," he said.
According to a copy of an order issued in this regard, "the Minister in charge of the Information Technology and Telecommunications Department will nominate a National Coordinator within 15 days of the implementation of these rules".
The aforementioned National Coordinator will recommend to the provincial and federal governments to keep social media companies active or issue instructions to departments, authorities and agencies on regulatory and regulatory issues.
As such, all departments, institutions and authorities will be obliged to follow these guidelines, which may include actions related to the acquisition of data from social media companies and the blocking of illegal content.
The National Coordinator may contact a social media company and a company representative to speak privately to discuss aspects related to the functions of the online system.
In addition, the National Coordinator will be the only authority that determines an emergency.
Similarly, the interpretation or authorization of any online content by an authority or national coordinator will take precedence over any type of community standards or rules or community guidelines or policies or social media company rules.
Under these rules, the Company is not online in connection with any material that violates the law, rules or guidelines of the National Coordinator, especially terrorism, extremism, hate speech, defamation, fake news, national security and violence. Establish a security mechanism to prevent live streaming of content in Pakistan.
In addition, companies that promote fake news or defamation or are sensitive to the religious, cultural, ethnic or national security of Pakistan and the online content or account of Pakistani nationals living outside the borders of the country. Terminate, suspend or prevent access to such Content.
In the event of failure to comply with the above rules, the National Coordinator may order orders to block the entirely online system, social media application or services provided by this company.
In the event of a block, the company will have 2 weeks to consult with a federal government-appointed committee and the committee will decide on it in 3 months.
The High Court may be referred to the High Court within a period of 30 days from the date of judgment against the decision of the Authority.