Info minister asks WhatsApp, YouTube to combat hate speech

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Two days after Twitter suspended Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) leader Khadim Hussain Rizvi’s account over a complaint, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday urged YouTube and WhatsApp to combat hate mongering.

Chaudhry took to his Twitter and shared a New York Times article with the caption, “It is so welcoming that giants like Twitter and Facebook are now fully committed to regulating their platforms to combat the menace of fake news and hate mongering. YouTube and WhatsApp please consider the same policy for a safer world.”

Earlier, on Sunday Twitter suspended TLP chief Rizvi’s account after his party led a three-day protest against a Supreme Court verdict acquitting Aasia Bibi – a Christian woman who had been on death row for eight years in a blasphemy case.

The countrywide demonstrations which erupted on Wednesday had left major highways — including the motorway connecting Lahore and Islamabad — blocked and routine life paralysed in major cities.

Mobile services in major cities had also been suspended.

The protests had come after Prime Minister Imran Khan issued a forceful rebuke to the TLP in a nationally-televised address in the ruling’s wake, saying the government would not tolerate violent protests.

On Friday, the government and the TLP had signed a deal to conclude the latter’s nationwide protest. One of the major concessions the government agreed to was to “initiate the legal process” to place Aasia Bibi’s name on the ECL [Exit Control List].

The state had also assured the party that it would not oppose a review petition filed against the Supreme Court’s judgement in the Aasia Bibi blasphemy case.

The government further promised to take appropriate legal action to redress any deaths that may have occurred during the protests against the Aasia Bibi verdict and to release all people picked up in connection with the protests starting October 30.

The TLP, in turn, only offered an apology “if it hurt the sentiments or inconvenienced anyone without reason”.