NA body recommends restricting content on YouTube

Agrees that complete ban on video-sharing site, PUBG is not a solution


Zafar Bhutta July 27, 2020
A Supreme Court bench last week hinted at imposing a complete ban on YouTube in view of the use of the online platform to spread hateful content about the judiciary and the armed forces of the country. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD:

A parliamentary body has recommended restricting content on video-sharing website YouTube and PUBG – an online game – rather than imposing a complete ban on them.

A Supreme Court bench last week hinted at imposing a complete ban on YouTube in view of the use of the online platform to spread hateful content about the judiciary and the armed forces of the country.

Last month, the country’s telecommunication and internet regulator – the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) – also imposed a ban on PUBG – which stands for the PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds – citing "numerous complaints" including some cases of suicide.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on July 24 ordered the PTA to immediately remove restrictions on the online game but the authority had not removed the curbs till filing of the report.

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication discussed social media regulations and cybercrimes in the country in a meeting chaired by Ali Khan Jadoon on Monday.

The members agreed to hold consultations for establishing a central body to oversee and ensure cooperation of different government institutions to counter cybercrime.

Discussing the complaints against the YouTube and PUBG, the members agreed that instead of restricting the whole websites it would be reasonable to restrict some of their contents.

The committee members suggested enhancing capacity of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to curb cybercrimes in the country.

The panel noted that underserved areas should be provided mobile services by telecommunication companies and asked the Ministry of IT to take up the issue with the telecom service providers.

The IT secretary informed the committee that the telecom industry has taken a lot of initiatives during coronavirus pandemic to enable online businesses, education and for spreading awareness about the contagion.

He informed the members that exports revenue related with the IT has increased exponentially and Pakistan is now the third biggest country in the world in terms of freelance services.

The IT secretary and the PTA chairman briefed the committee about various initiatives undertaken to facilitate online students and online businesses.

National Assembly lawmakers – Sahibzada Sibghatullah, Zain Hussain Qureshi, Aslam Khan, Kanwal Shauzab, Nusrat Wahid, Romina Khurshid Alam, Shamim Ara Panhwar, Mahesh Kumar Malani, Mehmood Shah - and officers of concerned departments attended the meetings.

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