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‘Criticism Is Vital For Democracy’: Justice Minallah Reprimands PTA Over Controversial Social Media Rules

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Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah rebuked the government over the controversial new social media rules framed by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), saying that they violate the constitution. He said that the authorities should let people access information without hindrance.
“The best way to ensure accountability in a democracy is to let people access information,” he said. The IHC chief justice also said that dissent and criticism is vital for democracy, adding that the PTA is discouraging accountability by blocking information for the public.

The IHC also remarked that meaningful consultation had to be done before framing the new social media rules that it said are violative of Article 19 of the constitution. Addressing the PTA officials, the court said that consultation means sharing a draft of the rules with the parties concerned before finalising it.
Further, Justice Minallah grilled the PTA for its failure to share a draft of the rules with stakeholders including the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC).
The new social media rules have been termed draconian by rights activists and journalists who have demanded the authorities to revoke them.

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