Pak's new cyber law

IN Media Watch Briefs | 12/08/2016

Pakistan’s legislature has put its stamp of approval on the controversial Pakistan Electronic Crimes Bill, which would enable the government to take down online content “in the interests of the glory of Islam,” reports Hindustan Times. Under the provisions of the bill, ISPs may also be ordered to block online content if it is found to be in breach of “public order and morality”. The new law, which will come into effect once Pakistan’s President puts his signature on it, has sparked fears that it would be a threat to freedom of expression. Pakistan does have a long history of suppressing online content it finds offensive. In 2012 the country banned YouTube for three years after it carried the trailer of the film Innocence of Muslims.       


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The new term for self censorship is voluntary censorship, as proposed by companies like Netflix and Hotstar. ET reports that streaming video service Amazon Prime is opposing a move by its peers to adopt a voluntary censorship code in anticipation of the Indian government coming up with its own rules. Amazon is resisting because it fears that it may alienate paying subscribers.                   

Clearly, the run to the 2019 elections is on. A journalist received a call from someone saying they were from Aajtak channel and were conducting a survey, asking whom she was going to vote for in 2019. On being told that her vote was secret, the caller assumed she wasn't going to vote for 'Modiji'. The caller, a woman, also didn't identify herself. A month or two earlier the same journalist received a call, this time from a man, asking if she was going to vote for the BSP.                 

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