Social Media Regulation Will Curb Political Dissent

Social media regulation will curb political dissent

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) is greatly concerned that the federal government has approved a set of rules designed to regulate social media platforms

Lahore (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 14th February, 2020) The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) is greatly concerned that the federal government has approved a set of rules designed to regulate social media platforms. Such a move – which has been made without consulting civil society stakeholders – has no credible justification.

While the government has said that these rules are intended to prohibit ‘unlawful’ online content, HRCP is concerned that they will enable the designated authorities to control freedom of expression and opinion in the guise of protecting ‘religious, cultural, ethnic and national security sensitivities.

’ Such broad parameters could well be used to justify removing online content deemed critical of state policies or to access unencrypted user data, making ordinary users vulnerable to the misuse of personal data. Political dissent will be the first to suffer.

Given that the print and broadcast media are increasingly subject to implicit censorship, instituting such stringent rules will contract the space that exists for citizens to access information that the mainstream media does not, or cannot, provide. HRCP supports the statement issued by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, criticising this move, and urges the government to reconsider its decision.

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