Fawad Chaudhry Says Bill Curbing Media Freedom ‘Public Interest Requirement’
Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain has justified government’s recent move to control digital media saying that regulating social media is a public interest requirement. He said registration of digital media platforms is very imperative to bring them under country’s economic laws framework.
regulating Social media is perfectly public interest requirement…. you never criticised USA and UK for actually more stringent regulations but for Pak you want zero regulation, also to bring companies in Pak economic laws framework registration is imperative https://t.co/IQV6SdNxoD
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) February 14, 2020
The minister tweeted the statement, while responding to Lawyer Reema Omer’s tweet of criticising the Citizen Protection Rules Against Online Harms saying, that legislation and policy-making must be exercised in public interest, terming the rules ‘unconstitutional’.
Is the Cabinet not familiar with delegated legislation jurisprudence?
1. Rules are not a substitute for legislation
2. Rule-making power must be exercised in public interest, in a bona fide, reasonable manner
These rules flout these requirements and thus seem unconstitutional https://t.co/fbn831kZwo
— Reema Omer (@reema_omer) February 13, 2020
While responding to Reema’s tweet, Fawad Chaudhry has further said that she had never criticised USA and UK for actually “more stringent” regulations, to which Reema Omer replied to Fawad’s tweet saying, that neither USA nor UK have more stringent rules. She reminded the minister that activists critical of the government are charged with sedition, and that the new law can be misused.
No, UK/US dont have “more stringent” regulations
Art 19 ICCPR sets limits on free speech. These rules go far beyond permissible grounds for regulation (eg: “extremism”)
You charge critics with sedition/terror, but expect us not to be concerned abt how these rules will be used? https://t.co/nCUnVyhCQC
— Reema Omer (@reema_omer) February 14, 2020
Recently, federal cabinet had approved a bill called Citizen Protection Rules Against Online Harms, aimed at ‘countering online crimes and hate speech’ but digital rights activists and social media users are of the opinion that it is a move to crush dissent and critical voices on social media.