Cabinet Approves Presidential Ordinance to Amend Electronic Crime Act

The initiatives taken by Tahreek e Insaf Government regarding clean social media posts are immense and thank-worthy. These include the removal and blocking of unlawful online content including live streaming from activists, extremists and hateful content that is against Pakistan’s dignity and prosperity. There is another milestones achieved by the government in making electronic crimes vanish. Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Fawad Chaudhry announced, on Saturday, 18th Feburary 2022, that the Federal cabinet has given the approval for the presidential ordinance to amend the prevention of Electronic Crime Act, Peca (2016).

This was told in the last tweet from Fawad Chaudhry few months back that this law has been sent to the federal cabinet to make it a punishable offense to insult the dignity of the people on the social media. So finally, this law has got the approval to make the due amendments. Now it will take shape of a proper law which will punish such electronic crimes. The slandering and offending personals on the social media will now be eligible for the punishment under the courts and the courts will give the verdict on such electronic cases registered under Peca within six months.

Presidential Ordinance to Amend Electronic Crime Act

The legislation states that imitation or satire-based websites and social media accounts can be proceeded against on ‘spoofing’, which makes it an offence to run a website or send information with a “fake source”. The Federal Investigation Agency officers have been authorized to unlock the computers, mobile phones or any devices to investigate the shameful activity of disgracing other’s dignity in form of parody and satire.

According to Fawad Chaudhry, the law got the approval despite of the controversial bill from the opposition. Opposition’s stance was this that this law will give more freedom of expression and few will get more power to misuse anyone they want.

As per rules, the immoral and indecent content will also be considered as punishable offense. It would be banned to upload any negative private information about any person. Also the content against Pakistan’s cultural and moral trends and one that harms the mental health of children will also be banned according to the amendments.

These rules will apply to all social media outlets including Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter and Google. The minister also added that the social media companies now have to set their offices in Pakistan as soon as possible as before they were told by PTA to get registered within three months of the law coming in action.

The social media companies have also been asked to appoint an authorized compliance officer and grievance officer based in Pakistan who will have to address the complaints within seven working days.

The internet companies are not very happy with the amendments. According to them the problematic provisions remained unchanged in the new draft and the rules have regressed as compared to the previous versions.

Also Read: Prevention of Electronic Crime Act (PECA)

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Fizza Atique

Fizza Atique is a Tech writer specializing in the intersection of tech and culture. She likes photography, VR, electronic music, coffee, and baking.

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