Implementation of online rules suspended, says PTA

KARACHI: A day after over 100 rights organisations and individuals announced a boycott of talks with the government on the Citizens Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules 2020 unless the rules were revoked, the authorities have clarified that the implementation of rules had already been suspended.

On Sunday, the rights groups in a statement said the government had refused to clarify the legal status of the rules without which “any consultation is merely token to deflect criticism and not a genuine exercise to seek input”.

When Dawn approached Pakistan Telecommunica­tion Authority (PTA) chairman Amir Azeem Bajwa to seek clarification on the current status of the rules, he said: “The rules are expected to be improved/amended suitably at the end of consultation process. Implementation of [existing] rules has been suspended.”

The prime minister earlier announced consultation with stakeholders after cabinet approval of the rules had attracted sharp opposition from various quarters including the companies that manage different social media platforms.