AJK Govt Establishes Committees to Oversee Social Media: Right Approach?

According to a credible source, the Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) government has initiated a crackdown against social media users involved in posting objectionable content, maligning, and blackmailing. The AJK government also announced strict measures against the exploitation of social media platforms. However, it has sparked a debate over freedom of speech and expression.

Moreover, the Home Department of AJK has issued a notification for the establishment of two monitoring bodies, including the Social Media Monitoring Cell and the Social Media Monitoring Committee. These committees have been tasked with overseeing compliance with existing laws on social platforms.

According to the notification, members of the Social Media Monitoring Cell comprise the Director of Public Relations, Assistant Director of Social Media, and information officers from respective districts of AJK. Their primary task will be identifying and reporting misleading and objectionable content aimed at maligning or intimidating public figures, and individuals carrying out official responsibilities.

On the other hand, the Social Media Monitoring Committee will include officials from various departments, which include the Home Department, Law Department, Police, and Information Directorate. This committee will be tasked with reviewing reports from the monitoring cell, assessing the content, and recommending criminal proceedings against offenders as per relevant laws.

However, as anticipated, these measures have sparked debate and drawn criticism from journalists and social media activists, who view them as a violation of freedom of expression and speech, which is also against democratic norms.

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