Interior Minister asks PTA chief to formulate SOPs for social media


ISLAMABAD, 24 May (APP): Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan on Wednesday directed PTA chairman to formulate SOPs for putting in place a framework, which ensures that social media is used as a medium to facilitate positive, constructive and healthy interactions, as an engine of growth and a platform for promoting exchange of ideas and not as a tool to propagate false information, pass defamatory comments, ridicule or humiliate sacred personalities, national institutions or jeopardizing social, religious and cultural values of any community.

The Interior Minister has also asked Speaker National Assembly to convene a meeting of representatives of all political parties for evolving consensus for putting in place a framework to ensure that social media platforms are used in a positive manner.

The Minister directed NADRA chairman and PTA chairman to review relevant laws and regulatory frameworks of neighbouring democratic countries and that of the developed nations for devising a system that ensures freedom of expression while simultaneously checking unbridled misuse of social media.

The Minister directed PTA chairman to consult all stakeholders including the service-providers, civil society, mainstream media and others, for setting guidelines, duly supported by the legal framework, to regulate the use of social media for constructive purposes and nation-building process.

The Minister has also asked foreign office to get in touch with OIC Secretary General for convening a meeting at the OIC level on the issue of blasphemous content on social media as per the commitment given to him by OIC Secretary General during his last visit to Pakistan. Pakistan is willing to play host of the OIC Conference.

This he said while chairing high level meeting at Interior Ministry. The meeting was attended by Secretary Interior, Chairman PTA, Advocate General, chairman NADRA, IG Islamabad and senior officials of FIA, ICT Police, NADRA and the Ministry.

The Minister said that being a democratic government it is our obligation to ensure and protect the right of every citizen for the freedom of expression but we are equally bound by the law and constitution of the country to protect our citizenry and institutions from the assault which is carried out through social media under the garb of freedom of expression.
The Minister observed that no conscientious person could be a silent spectator to the threat which is posed to our socio-cultural values institutions and our younger generations by the mayhem which is sometimes propagated by a section of social media.

The Minister said that the right to free speech is stitched to the sense of responsibility and ownership. Ghost users thorough their fake ids feel no qualms in misusing their right of expression and thus infringing the rights of others who are deeply affected by their imprudent actions.

The Minister directed that initial draft of the SOPs should be prepared in a week’s time for further consideration.

Over the issue of registration of INGOs under the new policy framework formulated by the Interior Ministry on the directions of the Interior Minister, the Minister directed the Ministry to finalize the process of making decision on pending application within one month.

The Minister also directed Interior Secretary to set up a wing in the Interior Ministry with the help of NADRA for facilitation of registered INGOs.