Regulator PTA says it has informed Twitter that such content does not fall under definition of ‘freedom of expression’
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) this week announced that it had reached out to the top management of social media platform Twitter to block trends and tweets “vilifying superior judiciary.”
In a statement, the regulator stressed that such content did not fall under the sphere of freedom of expression. “Twitter has particularly been informed that the presence of such content and trends does not come under the definition of freedom of expression and hence must be taken down instantly as ‘Contempt of Court’ is one of the categories that holds high priority for the Authority,” it added.
The PTA said Twitter had been directed to “effectively and expeditiously” respond to PTA’s requests to either remove or block all “illegal and harmful online content” to avoid any legal action. “PTA remains committed to facilitate and support digital platforms provided they remain compliant with laws of the land,” it added.
The PTA has already warned that platforms that do not adhere to its requests for content removal risk being banned outright in Pakistan. However, it is unlikely that Twitter would respond to such requests, as it maintains that all content shared on it abides by ethical standards and the laws of the host country.
The latest press release is likely a result of the PTA being reprimanded by the judiciary for failing to implement laws online that bar criticism of the judiciary. Earlier this year, it sent a mass text to all Pakistanis warning them that uploading and sharing of content on internet and/or social media platforms against the superior judiciary or in contempt of the court was unlawful and risked legal action.
It has directed all social media users to report any offending content so it can be blocked from access within Pakistan.