A debate is going on about promulgation of Online Content Regulations by the Federal Government and hopefully this would lead to proper and fuller understanding of the issue. Citizen’s Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules are aimed at regulating social media platforms for streaming content related to terrorism, extremism, hate speech, sedition, fake news, defamation, violence and national security.
The social media has revolutionized the field of information with immense benefits for people around the world who can share and benefit from exchange of knowledge and information. However, negative forces and enemies exploit these platforms for their own nefarious designs and that is why nations of the world have taken/are taking necessary measures to deal with the threat of cyber-crimes and destabilization of their societies. Pakistan is not the only country to have introduced rules for content regulation as some other states faced with similar challenges have resorted to stringent laws to curb all forms of extremism and terrorism. Pakistan faced existential threat due to extremism and terrorism and it was because of the sacrifices of the defence forces and law enforcing agencies that the threat has been mitigated but it is not over and vested interests are instrumental on social media to advance their objective of creating instability in the country. The move of the government is aimed at identifying and weeding out unwanted and slanderous online content to uphold the integrity, decency and respect of individuals as well as organizations. In this backdrop, no patriotic Pakistani would oppose measures directed at safeguarding national interests. However, there are genuine concerns about misinterpretation or wrong interpretation of the regulations and to allay their fears the authorities might review them to remove vague, subjective or undefined terms that are prone to be misused.