Tech Companies Require Clear Plan For Discussing Social Media Rules With Pakistan

The next hearing of the social media rules is less than a month away, with the technology companies seeking a clear network, timeline and plan for consultation with the Attorney General of Pakistan.

Tech Companies Require Clear Plan For Discussing Social Media Rules With Pakistan

According to the report, in a letter to Pakistan’s Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan, the Asian Internet Coalition (AIA) reiterated the current state of the rules for technology companies to build their platform in Pakistan and allow consumers to do business and this will make it very difficult to provide services.

These new rules were introduced under the Electronic Crime Prevention Act 2016 through the Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content Rules 2020, which was immediately rejected by several stakeholders, including AIC.

During the hearing of a petition filed by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, the Attorney General of Pakistan had assured that he would take up the matter for appropriate consultation with stakeholders.

“We welcome your statement before the Islamabad High Court to ensure meaningful consultation and review of your rules,” AIC Director Jeff Penn wrote in a letter to the Attorney General. The AIC sought their assistance in ensuring a clear consultation framework, timeline and basic principles of meaningful consultation in the project.

The next hearing in the case is set for February 26, but details of the consultation plan have not yet been released to the public or stakeholders. The AIC hopes that the government will provide drafts to stakeholders so that their feedback can be incorporated into policy and confidence in the consultation process. Get backs, add suggestions, make changes to each draft also issue an explanatory memo about the provisions and changes made in each draft.

The letter expressed frustration that instead of clarifying the scope of powers given to the PTA, the rules have created confusion for both online platforms and users in Pakistan.

It may be recalled that the government had in November 2020 enacted a notification entitled ‘Removal and Blocking Unlawful Online Content (Procedure, Oversight and Safeguards) Rules 2020‘ but digital rights activists and social media platforms were not welcomed by the party. A day after the rules were notified, technology companies announced that the rules would make it difficult for them to continue operating in the country.

A letter was also sent asking for help. AIC is a group of 15 US-based companies and social media platforms, including Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Cloudflare,, GRAB, Airbnb, SAP, Rockoutin, LinkedIn, Line, Amazon and a Pedia Group. The letter said that due to these rules, it has become ‘extremely difficult‘ for these social media companies to continue their services and platforms in Pakistan.

The letter, dated December 5, called for a credible consultation process that would allow AIC members to provide critical input and address key issues, such as the internationally recognized right to individual expression and privacy.

Be discussed In addition, in response to these concerns, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority had said that “biased and misleading perceptions of the law are being presented“. The PTA, in a statement, disagreed with the AIC’s position that meaningful consultations were not conducted, calling it “misleading and untrue“.

Originally published at Research snipers