AIC expresses concerns to PM Khan re: Pakistan Citizens Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules 2020 (Oct 2020)

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The Asia Internet Coalition (AIC) is deeply concerned by a recent press report indicating that the Pakistan government is ready to approve new Rules to remove or block unlawful social media content, without further consultation and feedback from the industry.

AIC has submitted a letter to the Prime Minister Imran Khan outlining Industry’s concerns about the lack of transparency on the consultation, an abbreviated consultation process, and strict local office requirements for online platforms. Industry’s detailed concerns about the new Rules, including their potential to negatively impact the business environment in Pakistan and its attractiveness as an investment destination for technology companies.

The AIC reiterates the importance of a credible, wide-ranging and transparent consultation. We are of the view that any industry consultation by definition must involve sharing updated policy drafts with stakeholders so there is common understanding on feedback solicited and the resulting revisions. To that end, the AIC has respectfully requested that the Government of Pakistan make available a copy of the revised draft rules to seek additional input and feedback from relevant stakeholders, who have been actively involved in the policy making process, and allow them a reasonable amount of time to provide feedback and be meaningfully consulted before the Rules are finalised.