Govt orders crackdown on hate speech online

FIA to monitor social media for controversial statements that could lead to sectarian conflicts.

Web Desk November 18, 2013
Tells FIA to take action against those spreading controversial statements via mobile phones or social media.

ISLAMABAD: The government ordered the Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to take strict action against anyone who propagates sectarianism via social media or mobile phones, Express News reported on Monday.

Social media will be monitored for controversial statements that could lead to sectarian conflicts and measures will taken against those who spread such content.

The government also asked the FIA to investigate the issue and ordered them to take action against people who are involved in spreading such statements.

The government’s decision comes after conflicts in Rawalpindi left nine people dead and over 80 injured on November 15. A curfew was imposed in the area and was lifted earlier today.

The tragedy had occurred as a mob turned against the police in the procession passing through Raja Bazaar in Pindi. As mourners massed, a group of miscreants had reportedly snatched guns from police personnel installed in the area for security, and opened fire.

Unknown people had also set a portion of the cloth market in Raja Bazaar on fire. The situation had soon gotten out of hand and the army was called in to control the situation.

'Militant' Media

Many proscribed groups have social media accounts, through which they spread hate speech, specifically against Ahmadis and Shia Muslims.

Earlier this year in October, the Sindh government had announced it would  ban instant messaging and voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) clients Skype, Viber and other communication networks  because terrorists were reportedly using them to plot terrorist attacks.

In 2012, Facebook had shut down an account made by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to recruit enthusiasts to write for a quarterly magazine.

TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan had confirmed to AFP by telephone that the faction was “temporarily” using the page “to fulfil its requirements” before launching its own website.


optimist | 10 years ago | Reply

My mum used to tell me not to eat anything given by Shias. We would regularly throw away thinngs that they would send on any occasion. I can't write about her views here as it would come under that very law. . Who will take action against moms teaching these things to their kids?

Sexton Blake | 10 years ago | Reply

@Hasan Mehmood: Dear Hasan, I semi-apologise for being long winded. However, you did say you were eagerly looking forward to my 2nd installment. In regard to the Taliban, I do not wish to move with my women folk to the Waziristan Region. However, the Taliban exist, they are a problem, but they will not change. I feel quite passionate about free speech. I have lived in countries where free speech has been modified. It usually happens when the government of the day is subjected to intense lobbying. It sounds quite reasonable at the time, but later on you find sub-clauses in the legislation, which are very unreasonable, and then it is too late. Defamation legislation may not be quite so powerful, but is adequate for most situations, if not abused, and as I have said before free speech is a precious think which does not come back once it is lost. Also, I would have thought that by curtailing free speech, it would be playing into the hands of the Taliban, who you say do not like it. . In regard to forces of darkness, it is complex and will require a long dissertation so I will not go into it, but I think my views are becoming well known. I can very occasionally enjoy a Star Trek episode on a cold winters night when I wish to escape from reality, and Pakistan's reality is not really marvelous. I really do not have the answers, but let us hope that the future will improve?

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