Protecting the Truth: Government’s Measures to Fight Social Media Disinformation

Cracking Down on Social Media Disinformation: Government's Proposed Strict Laws

The government has chosen to change the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act of 2016, also known as PECA, in order to combat the propagation of fake news and propaganda, and appropriate laws for disinformation on social media are now being researched.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), and the Ministry of Information Technology (MIT) have all provided assistance to the committee that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif established last year under the leadership of Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar, Minister of Law and Justice. The committee is now close to wrapping up its tasks.

On Thursday, credible sources revealed to The News that fake news articles that attack the reputation and image of a certain individual or group of people, organization, or other entity will be investigated using every available method.

According to reports, the regulations governing social media will be changed in order to give the PTA and FIA more power to investigate rumors and false information. In addition, an ‘e-safety law’ is now being drafted in order to safeguard government websites.

Additionally, it is anticipated that a new section will be added to PECA in order to give the relevant authorities the authority to take harsh action in order to ensure that those responsible for the offense are appropriately punished.

The PTA authorities are of the opinion that the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act of 2016 (PECA, 2016) does not provide sufficient help to take action against people who are propagating fake news.

There is a belief that the FIA is powerless in nearly all instances where fake news was identified and action was requested.

In the most recent months, the number of accusations that a certain group of individuals is engaged in destroying the reputations of specific organizations and individuals has increased dramatically. Despite the fact that the authorities believed the reports to be credible, they were unable to take any action against the individuals responsible.

In order to be held accountable for the content that is published on their platforms, social media corporations will be obliged to either operate from within Pakistan or establish their offices within the borders of the country.

Complaints may result in the blocking of their platforms or the removal of offending content if the social media companies fail to take appropriate action.

It is highly possible that the law will be finalized before the National Assembly’s authorized term ends or before the tenure of the current government comes to an end.

The law might be transformed into an ordinance and promulgated by the caretaker government in the event of a malfunction, according to the sources, and this could happen even after the existing regime has come to an end.

Read out: Is Pakistani Government Planning to Block Social Media Again?

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