Analysis: Pakistani government’s new online censorship strategy

first_img News It is equally concerning that the rules also provide for the censorship of any content regarded as indecent, immoral or harmful to the “glory of Islam,” without giving any precise definition of these extremely vague concepts. The interpretation is left to the PTA, which thereby acquires arbitrary and almost infinite powers. It is also envisaged that all these procedures are activated in a completely opaque manner. The nature of content that is blocked and the identity of those who denounce “forbidden” content will remain confidential. This lack of transparency will prevent the public from knowing the scale of the censorship to which they are being subjected and the identity of their censors. PakistanAsia – Pacific Online freedomsMedia independenceProtecting sources InternetCitizen-journalistsFreedom of expressionEconomic pressureJudicial harassment Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has analysed the provisions of a new set of online content regulations that the Pakistani government decreed without any consultation with stakeholders, and which are clearly designed to impose draconian online censorship. Pakistani TV anchor censored after denouncing violence against journalists Organisation Pakistani supreme court acquits main suspect in Daniel Pearl murder In view of the complete lack of consultation, several stakeholders have said they will challenge the regulations in the courts. The new set of rules subjects online content to completely arbitrary censorship by the executive (image: D. Bastard). to go further “We urge the Pakistani government to reconsider this iniquitous decree which, as it stands, subjects online content to completely arbitrary censorship by the executive,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk. “These rules will deprive Pakistani citizens of reliable and independent information on the Internet, which has become one of the few remaining spaces where this is still possible. As such, they are quite simply unconstitutional.” Follow the news on Pakistan The rules also empower the PTA to act as both plaintiff and judge. It is the PTA that decides, without reference to a court, whether content violates the criminal code and, worse still, it is the PTA that reexamines cases in the event of a challenge, and rules on any appeals. Finally, social media and Internet access providers are required to implement the censorship themselves. They are given 24 hours – or six hours in urgent cases– to delete or block content regarded by the PTA as contentious. In the event of failure to comply with one of its directives, the PTA can order the blocking of an entire website or social network. RSF_en Pakistani journalist critical of the military wounded by gunfire No transparency News This model of censorship and total content control is directly based on the model pioneered in neighbouring China, which is ranked 177th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index. Pakistan is ranked 145th, six places lower than in 2018. Help by sharing this information News Receive email alerts December 18, 2020 Analysis: Pakistani government’s new online censorship strategy April 21, 2021 Find out more June 2, 2021 Find out more On national security grounds, the rules provide for the withdrawal or blocking of any content that “excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the federal or provincial government” or “harms the reputation of any person holding public office.” In practice, this would mean that any comment critical of a government official could be immediately censored. News Platforms are also legally obliged to hand over user data when asked, including data from private and encrypted communications. And platforms with more than 500,000 users are required to open an office in Pakistan, install servers there and register with the authorities. PakistanAsia – Pacific Online freedomsMedia independenceProtecting sources InternetCitizen-journalistsFreedom of expressionEconomic pressureJudicial harassment Vague concepts Published last month by the information ministry and entitled “Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content (Procedure, Oversight and Safeguards), Rules 2020,” the new regulations replace an earlier set of rules that were suspended in February because of a civil society outcry.The initial aim was to provide a legal framework for article 37 of the 2016 Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, but they have ended up going much further, granting disproportionate and discretionary powers to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the online content regulator, which is a direct government offshoot. January 28, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

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Urban Renewal

first_imgWhen most people think of urban renewal, their thoughts go to upgrading buildings, streets, and the like.  Mike Larson, the defensive coordinator for the Wendall Phillips Academy football team in Chicago, has his own version of urban renewal.  When school ended last spring, he told Jamal Brown that his summer assignment was to stay alive.Most of you have heard of all the shootings that have occurred in the lower-income areas of Chicago this past year.  Jamal Brown lives in one of these neighborhoods.  In fact, Coach Larson wanted Brown to stay with him, but he was remodeling this summer so he could not take Brown into his home.  This is what has happened in Brown’s family since he was a small child.  (1) his father died of a heart attack; (2) his mother was a drug addict and finally wound up in jail; (3) he went to live with his grandmother and while there she was shot and killed by his grandfather; (4) he was raised by an aunt who finally took Jamal to Chicago from Detroit.  Now you know why he was told to just try to stay alive.The Academy did not win this year’s state title, but they did finish runner-up.  All of their senior football players will graduate in June.  This includes Jamal.  Just a few short years ago, Phillips Academy was on the “fail” list as a school, but now they have the top state ranking in Illinois.  The football coaches do not take credit for all of this improvement, but they certainly had been a dominating factor in keeping these kids along with their friends in school.last_img read more

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English Premier League agrees on number of substitutes for season restart

first_imgRelatedPosts EPL: Gunners gun for West Ham scalp EPL: Red Devils attack Palace Leeds host first Premier League game after 16 years English Premier League clubs will be able to use five substitutes rather than the usual three when the season resumes on June 17, it was announced on Thursday.The changes will be temporary so as to mitigate the packed schedule clubs will have after a three-month suspension to the season caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. There are 92 outstanding fixtures with the majority of teams facing nine matches in a six-week period.“For the remainder of the 2019/2020 season, the number of substitutes that can be used during a match will increase from three to five players,” a Premier League statement said after a meeting of shareholders on Thursday.“This is in line with the temporary law amendment made by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) last month.”Clubs will be able to have nine substitutes on the bench, up from the usual seven.Reuters/NAN. Tags: English Premier LeagueRulesSeason RestartSubstitutionslast_img read more

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