Pakistani Court gives government a month to deliver a report on social media rules

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) required the government to prepare and deliver a report on social media rules that entered into force in 2020. The decision came in response to a petition filed by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) against the social media regulation enforced by the central government. The PTA raised concerns about the committee established by the government to prepare the report and required the inclusion of stakeholders in the activity. 

The social media rules have attracted widespread criticism from journalists, activists and social media companies for having given to the government wide powers of censorship. Among other provisions, the bill requires social media to remove and block content and users that harm, intimidate or excite disaffection against the government. Service providers can face fines up to 500 million rupees for not complying in 24 hours, or in some cases, in 6 hours.