Islamabad: The federal government has taken the decision to introduce amendments to the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act of 2016 (PECA). The decision has been taken to counter the spread of fake news & propaganda.
A new section will be added to PECA that empowers the authorities to take stringent action against culprits on account of their offence. The changes took place when PTA authorities identified that PECA-2016 doesn’t provide the required assistance to take action against culprits behind fake news.
In 2022, a committee was constituted for the task under Justice Minister Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar. The committee has completed the framework for amendments. The team had the assistance of Federal Investigation Agency, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), & Ministry of Information Technology.
The new amendments regarding social media rules will enhance PTA and FIA’s authority to keep an eye on fake news. Similarly, the e-safety law would be introduced to protect official portals. All available means would be used to check fake news targeting the reputation of a group or entity.
After the changes following developments are expected to take place:
- Social media companies will have to operate from Pakistan or launch their offices locally. This will make them answerable for the published content.
- On a genuine complaint: either the offensive content would be removed or the platform would be blocked.
- The law will be ready before the end of the term of the incumbent government.
- In case of a glitch, the caretaker government can turn the law into an ordinance.