PTA may be empowered to undertake Internet content management
ISLAMNABAD: As part of the National Action Plan (NAP) to root out terrorism Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is considering an official summary to grant powers to PTA to block blasphemous and hate material on the social media and Internet, The News has learnt.
Ministry of information technology (MoIT) has forwarded a summary to PM for disbanding the existing Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC) for identifying objectionable and blasphemous contents at Internet and granting powers to PTA to undertake this crucial assignment.
The Islamabad High Court had already barred the IMC from playing any role in this regard. The IMC was set up during the PPP tenure after slapping ban on YouTube.“Now we have proposed creation of a separate cell within PTA to perform this important task. We are awaiting formal response of the competent authority after which the ministry will issue a directive to PTA for establishing this cell under its jurisdiction,” official sources confirmed to The News here on Friday.
Minister for information technology, Anusha Rahman, confirmed to The News that a summary has been moved to empower PTA for Internet content management.Sources in PTA however say it was beyond PTA’s mandate under the existing Act to undertake content management so the government would have to change the PTA Act. The government sources however feel that after PM’s approval MoIT can issue a directive to PTA in this regard.
Under the existing law, PTA’s functions include regulating the establishment, operation and maintenance of telecommunication systems and provision of telecommunication services in Pakistan, receiving and expeditiously disposing of applications for the use of radio-frequency spectrum, promoting and protecting the interests of users of telecommunication services in Pakistan, promoting the availability of a wide range of high quality, efficient, cost effective and competitive telecommunication services throughout Pakistan.
It is also mandated to promote rapid modernisation of telecommunication systems and telecommunication services, to investigate and adjudicate on complaints and other claims made against licencees arising out of alleged contraventions of the provisions of this Act, the rules made and licences issued there under and take action accordingly.
It is also the function of PTA to make recommendations to the federal government on policies with respect to international telecommunications, provision of support for participation in international meetings and agreements to be executed in relation to the routing of international traffic and accounting settlements and to perform such other functions as the federal government may assign from time to time.