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Google, Twitter and Facebook threaten to leave Pakistan over new content rules

Global tech giants Google, Facebook & Twitter among others they have united and threaten to leave Pakistan due to the country’s latest censorship laws. The government of Prime Minister Imran Khan has granted enhanced powers to Pakistani media regulators.

Under the new regulations, social media companies or Internet service providers have to pay a fine of up to $ 3.14 million for failing to curb the sharing of content deemed defamatory of Islam, promoting terrorism, inciting hate, pornography or any content considered a national security hazard.

The Asia Internet Coalition (AIC), a grouping of major tech giants such as Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Amazon, Google, LinkedIn, SAP, Yahoo, Airbnb, booking.com. AIC threatened retreat after Islamabad granted enhanced powers to government media regulators. Critics say the move was aimed at limiting freedom of expression in the conservative Islamic nation.

The coalition said it was “alarmed by the scope of the new Pakistani law targeting Internet companies, as well as the government’s opaque process by which these rules were developed.” Previously, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan had granted the Pakistani Telecommunications Authority the power to remove and block digital content that “harms, intimidates or disaffects the government” or in other ways damages “integrity,” the security and defense of Pakistan “.

According to the Pakistani daily DAWN, social media companies are required to provide the designated detective agency of Pakistan with “any information or data that is decrypted, legible and understandable”. Pakistan also wants social media companies to have their offices in the country.

The coalition said “the draconian data localization requirements will damage people’s ability to access a free and open Internet and exclude Pakistan’s digital economy from the rest of the world.” He said the new rules will make it difficult for its members “to make their services available to Pakistani users and businesses”.

Global Tech giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Google have threatened to leave Pakistan due to new censorship laws that give media regulators more powers to censor online content.

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