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Pakistan govt to crack down on defamatory social media content

The panel will make recommendations after consultation and consensus with all stakeholders.

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Islamabad: Pakistan’s government has decided to crack down against social media users who post content that is deemed defamatory, Geo News reported on Saturday.

This decision was taken after Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal was heckled by PTI supporters at a restaurant on Islamabad-Lahore Motorway last week, which went viral last week and made headlines after which the family apologized to Ahsan Iqbal.

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Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah chaired a meeting on Friday, which was also attended by the federal interior secretary, Punjab IGP, FIA DG, Nadra’s Acting Chairman Khalid Latif, and other officials.

The meeting discussed issues of harassment of citizens and uploading “immoral videos” on social media and a decision was taken to crack down on those who share defamatory content on social media and impersonate others. The officials also deliberated over issues of blackmailing and character assassination of citizens.

The meeting discussed making “effective” laws to deal with cybercrime, especially harassment, and uploading what it called “insulting” content. It was decided to constitute a working group to bring necessary amendments to PECA 2016 on the issue of harassment and defamation. The panel will make recommendations after consultation and consensus with all stakeholders.

Rana Sanaullah directed the authorities to take strict and immediate action against those involved in cybercrime and said that tarnishing the reputation of citizens through defamatory content and character assassination was not acceptable in any case.

The interior minister further directed the concerned authorities to adopt a zero-tolerance policy against those who violate moral values in society. He also advised the masses to send their complaints to the contact numbers of FIA with direction to the relevant authorities to process them without delay.

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