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No blocking of social media websites: PTA

27 July, 2019

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The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) on Friday rubbished the reports of its chairperson recommending the blocking of social media websites, saying they were “entirely false”.

“The media reports of #PTA recommending blocking of social media websites are entirely false,” a tweet from PTA Pakistan read.

Earlier in the day, it was reported that PTA Chairperson Amir Azeem Bajwa had recommended the government block social media websites in the country.

Briefing a Senate Standing Committee, Bajwa had said there was blasphemous content on social media and several fake accounts. He added that the majority of websites were being operated from outside the country.

The PTA chairperson had called on the government to formulate a policy and block social media networks. He had recommended that like in other countries, indigenous social networking websites should be made.

The PTA chief also suggested that the government should sign mutual legal assistance treaties with other countries so that access to blasphemous content on international social media platforms can be blocked in Pakistan.

Barrister Saif Khan, who was chairing the meeting, asked if the body can “block the revenue” that social media websites – where blasphemous content is posted – earn from Pakistan. He further said that social media platforms, which operate from other countries, should appoint their representatives in Pakistan.

Bajwa had added that the government had tasked PTA to make social media rules which would be presented soon. According to the chairperson, since 2010 over 39,000 links had been blocked as he dispelled the impression that Pakistan was one of the leading countries where child pornography was being generated. Bajwa had informed the committee that 8,000 websites related to pornography had been blocked.

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