Digital media giants Facebook, Twitter and Google have threatened to suspend services in Pakistan after Prime Minister Imran Khan's government gave approval to new social media regulations in the country.
Through a group called the Asia Internet Coalition (AIC), the digital giants wrote a scathing letter to Pakistan PM Imran Khan. AIC has called the rules "vague and arbitrary in nature". The companies warned that "the rules as currently written would make it extremely difficult for AIC Members to make their services available to Pakistani users and businesses".
The Asia Internet Coalition is an industry association that promotes the understanding and resolution of internet policy issues in the Asia Pacific region.
"We are not against regulation of social media, and we acknowledge that Pakistan already has an extensive legislative framework governing online content. However, these rules fail to address crucial issues such as internationally recognized rights to individual expression and privacy," AIC added.
As per the new rules, Pakistan has made it mandatory for social media companies to open offices in Islamabad (capital of Pakistan). Besides, the country has instructed these digital giants to build data servers to store information and take down content upon identification of authorities.
Besides, through this new digital censorship law, authorities will be able to take action against its citizens if found guilty of targeting state institutions at home and abroad on social media.
Failure to comply with the government will result in hefty fines and possible termination of services.
"In case of failure to comply within 15 days, it would have the power to suspend their services or impose a fine worth up to 500 million Pakistani rupees".