Google, Twitter and Facebook threaten to leave Pakistan over new content rules

Global tech giants Google, Facebook & Twitter among others have united and are threatening to leave Pakistan because of the country’s latest censorship laws. Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government has given Pakistani media regulators more powers.

Under the new regulations, social media companies or internet service providers can be fined up to USD 3.14 million for failing to curb the sharing of content considered defamatory to Islam, promoting terrorism, hate speech, pornography or other content which is considered nationally endangered. safety.

The Asia Internet Coalition (AIC), a group of big tech giants like Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Amazon, Google, LinkedIn, SAP, Yahoo, Airbnb, booking.com. The AIC threatened their withdrawal after Islamabad granted more powers to government media regulators. Critics say the move was aimed at restricting freedom of speech in the conservative Muslim nation.

The coalition said it was “alarmed by the scope of Pakistan’s new law against Internet companies, as well as by the government’s opaque process of developing these rules.” Previously, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan empowered the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority to remove and block digital content that “harms, intimidates or creates dissatisfaction with the government” or that otherwise damages “the integrity, security and defense of Pakistan”.

According to Pakistani newspaper DAWN, social media companies are required to provide Pakistan’s designated investigative agency “with any information or data in a decrypted, legible and understandable format”. Pakistan also wants social media companies to have their offices in the country.

The coalition said the “draconian data localization requirements will hurt people’s ability to access a free and open Internet and cut Pakistan’s digital economy off from the rest of the world.” It said the new rules will make it difficult for its members to “make their services available to Pakistani users and businesses.”

Globally Tech giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Google have threatened to leave Pakistan over new censorship laws that give media regulators more powers to censor online content.

News Highlights:

  • Globally Tech giants have threatened to leave Pakistan over the latest censorship laws.
  • A severe fine is foreseen for not curbing the sharing of content that is considered defamatory to Islam in order to promote terrorism, hate speech or pornography.
  • The coalition has called the latest laws ‘draconian’ that will harm people’s ability to access a free and open internet.
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