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Clearing the air about crackdown against callous posts, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Tuesday said no restriction will be imposed on social media, but at the same time unbridled freedom cannot be allowed.
"We all realise the importance of social media. There are rules for every institution, organisation and government, but, unfortunately no such rules exist for social media," Nisar told a press conference.
For the last two weeks, he said, posts against national institutions had surfaced.
Some 27 social media accounts were identified for posting offensive material and six persons were interviewed, he said.
He said the persons under interrogation were even asked to bring their lawyers along with them during questioning. Their electronic devices will be checked forensically, and if any evidence is found, the accused will be arrested.
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"It is not my personal issue, or that of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), rather it is an issue of society. Our cultural and religious values are under attack from a section of social media," he said, adding that the Constitution of Pakistan, institutions and the values were under attack by a section of social media.
Nisar observed that crackdown of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) against 'blasphemous' posts had resulted in a huge decline in offensive material being posted online.
He said, “Standard operating procedures (SOPs) will be made for the use of social media and future generations will be protected against ‘trash’ of social media.
Nisar said he had given clear directions that “indiscriminate action be initiated against all those involved, even if someone was from the PML-N.”
"We want social media to grow but it must come under some law or code of conduct," he added. He reiterated that the government was not for blocking social media but it was calling for a regulated exercise of freedom of expression.
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Hinting at facilitating Internet service providers in Pakistan to stop misuse of social media, he said SOPs might be devised for the purpose too. Efforts were accelerated to track Internet users' activities online and hunt down undesirable elements, he added.
The minister also mentioned about his detailed meeting with all representative bodies of media including APNS, CPNE and PBA. He said the meeting's agenda revolved around evolving a consensus policy to safeguard national security interests and it was agreed to implement the recommendations of the meeting.
He said the participants of the meeting also agreed over a code of conduct regarding the national security.
The minister said that representatives of media bodies agreed to work together and no point of difference or even difference of opinion was found.
To a question about a reported suicide by a messenger of the Ministry of Interior, he replied that an investigation was underway into the matter. However, he was told that the deceased was under stress over finding a job for his son.
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