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The government of Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) has recently announced strict measures to address the misuse of social media platforms, sparking a debate on the boundaries of freedom of expression. Responding to concerns regarding inappropriate content, defamation, and blackmailing on social media, the AJK government has initiated a crackdown on those found violating regulations.

The decision includes the establishment of a Social Media Monitoring Cell and a Social Media Monitoring Committee, both tasked with ensuring compliance with existing laws governing social media platforms. The Home Department of AJK issued a notification outlining the formation and responsibilities of these monitoring bodies.

According to the notification, the Social Media Monitoring Cell will consist of the Director of Public Relations, Assistant Director of social media, and information officers from respective districts. Their primary objective will be to identify and report false and objectionable content intended to defame or intimidate public figures and individuals carrying out official duties.

Furthermore, the Social Media Monitoring Committee will comprise officials from various departments such as the Home Department, Law Department, Police, and Information Directorate. This committee will be responsible for reviewing reports from the monitoring cell, assessing the content, and recommending legal action against offenders in accordance with relevant laws.

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However, these measures have faced criticism from journalists and social media activists, who argue that they infringe upon freedom of expression. Concerns have been raised that such committees could potentially suppress social media criticism and hinder the free flow of information.

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