The Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication on Tuesday recommended for Financial Support to Bloggers who could play vital role in promotion of digital economy as well as portraying positive image of the country.
The committee met with Rubina Khalid in the chair here on Tuesday where Senator Faisal Javed, recommended that government should give incentives to bloggers which would help in phenomenal economic growth. “Government needs to give financial support to bolggers”, said the Javed, adding that phenomenal growth has been observed in the number of bloggers who could portray positive image of the country.
Financial Support to Bloggers will Help them Nourish and Portray Positive Image of Pakistan
Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui Secretary Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication said that IT & IT enabled services (ITes) export have surged to $550.503 million at a growth rate of 24.71 percent during the first six months of fiscal year 2019-20 (July-December), compared to $441.435 million during same period of last year.
However, chairperson said that how digital economy could be promoted when government has made common men access to mobile phones difficult by imposing taxes on import when there is no manufacturing plant in the country.
Siddiqui said that government has flouted Expression of Interest (EOI) for bringing international payment gateway to promote electronic and digital money transactions. He said that State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) will give incentives to international payment gateways to promote information technology sector exports, freelancing and digital economy.
Bloggers Can Play Vital Role in Promotion of Digital Economy
The committee expressed serious concerns over not sharing of “the citizens protection against online harm Rules, 2020” by the MoITT and passed from the cabinet. Chairperson said that despite the time and again reminders, the ministry did not bother to share the rules with the committee and passed the rules.
Siddiqui said that rules were passed from the cabinet without violating any regulations. He further said that legislation is being done by the Parliament where it is the prerogative of the government to formulate rules.
Secretary said that Prime Minister has directed for broad based consultations with all stakeholders on the implementation of rules. He said these rules are intended to protect honor and integrity of individual, State and its institutions. It intends to protect online harm to innocent people, religious feelings and vulnerable sections of society and would help in maintaining order. Appropriate review and appeal remedies have also been provided. Government has decided to carry out due consultation with the relevant stake holders for addressing their concerns and t allay fears which may not be based on correct presumptions. The committee asked for a written response from the ministry on “the citizens protection against online harm Rules, 2020” in next meeting.
Javed said that rules need to be more tighten to control misuse of social media in the country. He said that blackmailing, banks frauds and harassment should also be covered under these regulations.
Senator Dr Shahzad Wasim said that the legislation is made in the Parliament but the rules are not forbidden to be brought to the committees, and committees have the right to see these rules to ensure that these are not against the legislation.
Senator Fida Muhammad said that a fake ID of Senator Usman Khan Kakar has been made and should be investigated. Senator Wasim said that some tower companies are not following the rules and regulations and have been posted non-engineering people at the posts of engineers. He also said that the market is flooded with sub-standard mobile phones and needs to be investigated.