The government is considering making a strict law to deal with misinformation on social media.

Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram apps are visible on a smartphone in this illustration taken on July 13, 2021.  - Reuters
Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram apps are visible on a smartphone in this illustration taken on July 13, 2021. – Reuters
  • The government will amend the Electronic Crime Prevention Act 2016.
  • Fake news targeting any individual will be “investigated” by all means.
  • The legislation is expected to be ready before the end of the National Assembly.

Islamabad: To combat fake news and disinformation, the government has decided to amend the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 (PECA), and the relevant laws are under study.

Last year, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif formed a committee under Law and Justice Minister Senator Azam Nazir Tarar; The committee has now almost completed its work with the help of Ministry of Information Technology (MIT), Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

informed sources told news It said here on Thursday that fake news targeting the reputation and image of a particular person or group of people, organization or other entity would be investigated by all available means.

Social media rules will be amended to enhance the authority of PTA and FIA to investigate alleged fake news. And an ‘e-security law’ is being brought in to protect official portals.

Further, a new section will be inserted in PECA to empower the concerned authorities to take strict action so that the culprits are punished for their crime.

PTA officials are of the view that PECA, 2016 does not provide enough help in taking action against those spreading fake news.

One view is that as a result, the FIA ​​is helpless in almost all complaints where fake news is pointed out and action is called for.

Complaints that a group of people are engaged in damaging the reputation of particular organizations and individuals have multiplied in recent months. Although the complaints were accepted as genuine, the authorities could not take any action against the perpetrators.

Social media companies will have to operate from Pakistan or set up their offices in the country so that they are accountable for the content on their sites.

If they fail to take action, their platform may be blocked or objectionable content may be removed upon receipt of a complaint.

The law is likely to be ready before the mandatory term of the National Assembly expires and the term of the current government expires.

The sources also said that in case of a glitch, the law can be converted into an ordinance promulgated by the caretaker government even after the end of the current regime.

Originally published in news

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