Episode 5: Pakistan’s censorship regime under Section 37 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 and the Citizens Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules 2020, reviewed against fundamental rights under the Constitution

Guest: Faisal Daudpota, a lawyer with experience of more than 22 years and has appeared in cases before the High Courts in Pakistan and the DIFC Courts in Dubai. He is one of the co-authors of Pakistan’s Electronic Transactions Ordinance, 2002. He is a member of multiple law associations, including the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). He has authored many articles covering various legal disciplines and is a regular speaker at international conferences and seminars. Within the ambit of his multidisciplinary legal practice, he advises clients in various areas of laws such as data protection, intellectual property, information technology, licensing, dispute resolution and competition.


The Bolo Bhi team spoke to Faisal Daupota about his paper on Citizens Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules, 2020, which covered:

  • Constitutional scheme of Article 19 and how it conflicts with Section 37 of PECA 2016 and CP Rules 2020
  • Substance of Section 37 of PECA
  • Problems with the CP Rules and why they need to be withdrawn
  • Contradiction of the CP Rules with the LHC case Leo Communication (Pvt.) Ltd. & Others v Federation of Pakistan & Others which declared that freedom of speech is the lifeblood of democracy
  • The CP Rules as enacted are ultra vires of Article 19 of the Constitution, because they impose unconstitutional prior restraint censorship on freedom of speech and press rights of Pakistani citizens
  • PTA’s recent VPN registration requirement notice and its effects on online behavior and self-censorship
  • Importance of due consultative process before issuing any laws or rules

To watch the complete video click here.

To read Faisal Daudpota’s paper on the Citizens Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules, 2020 click here.

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