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IHC Asks Govt To Submit Proposed Social Media Rules; CJ Minallah Assures Courts Will Block Ban On Media

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The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has called upon the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to submit the proposed rules under which they seek to regulate social media.

The Chief Justice of the IHC asked for these regulations to be submitted after representatives of the PTA and PEMRA informed the court that the rules had not yet been implemented. They also stated that the Prime Minister had formed a commission to review the regulations after they came under criticism in Pakistan and abroad.

Chief Justice Athar Minallah was hearing a case before the IHC on media regulations. He remarked, “Why should one be afraid of criticism?”

In the course of the hearing, when journalist Hamid Mir told the court that the Indian government had shut down two channels recently, Chief Justice Minallah declared that the constitutional courts would block such measures in Pakistan.

Hamid Mir went on to point out that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had, by arresting Geo’s Mir Shakilur Rehman, violated the court’s orders regarding preconditions for arresting an accused person. The Chief Justice explained that the court interpreted the law and the authorities had to implement it in letter and spirit. He went on to point out that Pakistan ranked very low in indices for rule of law and freedom of expression.

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Naya Daur