Government Announcements to Crackdown and Regulate Social Media

Government Announcements to Crackdown and Regulate Social Media

Sr NoDateGovernment Announcements
130 December 2016
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan made an announcement in response to a fake picture being shared on social media networks. In a press conference he said, “We are in contact with Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and other social media sites to expose the elements and their hidden motives for launching a negative campaign to damage credibility of the state institutions.”
209 March 2017Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan threatened to block all social media websites with 'blasphemous content'. This followed an Islamabad High Court (IHC) directive to the government to open an investigation into online ‘blasphemy’ in response to the case of five activists reported missing in January.
314 May 2017
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan ordered the FIA to initiate action against individuals running “anti-military” campaigns on the Internet. According to the Minister, “under constitutional guidelines on freedom of expression, unwarranted criticism of security forces and other institutions responsible for the defence of the realm is not allowed. No citizen can be involved in a campaign that tarnishes the reputation and respect of the armed forces”.
422 May 2017
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) identified several suspects for allegedly posting anti-military material on social media, many of whom were taken into custody for interrogation. It also finalized a list of 200 Twitter accounts and Facebook pages for investigation.
523 May 2017
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan announced the need for rules and standard operating procedures to regulate the use of social media. “We all realise the importance of social media. There are rules for every institution, organisation and government, but, unfortunately no such rules exist for social media” Nisar told a press conference.
629 June 2017Chaudhry Nisar directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to take action against social media campaigns that served to promote ‘sectarianism’.
707 July 2017
The Interior Ministry announced progress made in a meeting with Vice President of Facebook, Joel Kaplan in Islamabad, to discuss ways to address the issue of the misuse of social media platforms. The ministry emphasized the issue of blasphemous content which is illegal in Pakistan. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that “nothing is more sacred to us than our religion and our holy personalities.”
828 March 2018The National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) developed an online reporting portal geared towards countering online extremism as well as the abuse of the internet and social media. Surf safe allows Pakistanis to report extremist online-content freely, securely and anonymously.
912 July 2018
Chairman Senate Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani directed Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to block all the websites and pages containing blasphemous material against holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH).
1015 August 2018
Twitter stands in danger of being banned because it refuses to comply with government content restriction requests. The Pak­istan Telecommuni­cation Authority (PTA) informed the Senate Standing Com­mittee on Cabinet Secre­tariat that while Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms complied with requests from the government to block objectionable content, Twitter did not oblige.
1104 November 2018
Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry spoke about the importance of regulating social media in relation to the spread of fake news and the incitement of violence.
1214 December 2018
Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry announced that social media companies like Facebook and Twitter were cooperating with the government to prevent hate speech. "We desire the prevention of hate speech and not to curb free speech," he stated.
1317 Jan 2019
Sindh police Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) set up a technical team to monitor social media against its growing use for the “promotion of ideology of hatred, anti-state activism and militancy”
1420 Jan 2019
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) established a Cyber Vigilance Division (CVD) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to handle complaints against unlawful online content under Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA).
1513 February 2019
Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry announced that the Government was preparing to launch crackdown against extremism and hate speech on social media. He proposed “a new authority called the Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority which will serve as a one-window operation for digital, print and electronic media.”
1625 February 2019
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) claims to have devised a monitoring system to combat extremism and hate speech on social media. This was after the government announced a crackdown on social media against extremism. The FIA stated it would take action against individuals committing such an offense without waiting for a complaint, in accordance with the powers granted under PECA.
1710 May 2019
The Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Azam Khan Swati rubbished the news that the PTA had signed any contract for monitoring of Internet Traffic with any vendor. Despite that on 24.05.2019 it was reported that the Senate Standing Commi­ttee on Cabinet Secretariat was probing the matter of Pak­istan Telecommunication Auth­o­rity (PTA) signing an agreement with US-based Sand­vine Corporation, a company allegedly working as a partner with Israeli intelligence, for monitoring, analysing, and curbing grey traffic.
1812 June 2018
In response to the Petition of Hafiz Ihtesham Ahmad aggrieved by the FIA and PTA’s alleged inaction against blasphemous content online, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) directed FIA and PTA to take action against people involved in uploading blasphemous materials on social media.
1912 July 2019
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) published an advertisement urging the readers to exercise free speech but not commit offences and report any such offences to PTA.
2017 July 2019

Chairman PTA Amir Azeem Bajwa briefed the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology that PTA has restricted access to at least 11,000 proxy servers, and further intends to regulate the use of Virtual Private Network (VPN) in Pakistan through a new model that they are trying to set up.

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