New Social Media Rules Questioned by IHC Chief Justice

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New social media rules

The Islamabad High Court Justice in Athar Minallah has questioned the framing of rules with respect to social media – and has gone on to maintain the view that such rules actually go on and discourage criticism while also adversely affecting the accountability that is there within the country.

Taking into consideration a petition which was subject to being filed again the ban imposed on video sharing social networking service in TikTok, the IHC chief justice questioned the authority who took the decision to enforce these rules for social media while of course at the same time also asking how such rules were made in the first place.

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He took the stance that even the judicial order with regards to the superior courts were subject to criticism but it should not have an impact on the right to fair trial. He proceeded on to ask the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to review the rules in light of the objections raised by the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC).

He was quoted to have said : Social media rules framed by PTA are prima Davie not in consonance with Articles 19 and 19A of the constitution. The best manner to ensure accountability in a democracy is to let people have access to information.” He continued by saying : “Criticism is very important for democracy. Let the people have information and let them judge the government. PTA is discouraging accountability. PTA should encourage accountability by facilitating access to information. When even the courts and judges are not immune to from constructive criticism, how can government be shielded from criticism?”Abid Saqi, who happens to be the vice chairman of PBC said : “The CJ has rightly observed that the best manner to ensure accountability in a democracy is to let the people have access to information. In my opinion, access to information is sine qua non for meaningfully exercising the other democratic rights, like elections of a democratic government, voting, etc.”

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