ISLAMABAD: A petition has been filed in the Islamabad High Court against the government’s proposed law to regulate social media.
The cabinet secretary, law and justice secretary, information secretary and PTA chairperson have been named in the case, which has been filed by Jehangir Khan Jadoon, a member of the Supreme Court Bar Association.
The petition spoke about the importance of freedom of expression and said “undemocratic societies try to limit, manipulate, discredit, demonise or otherwise control free speech and to prevent dissemination of ideas or opinions that might threaten their narrative”.
The petition also said that “to control the flow of information in any form, whether it is social media, print media or electronic media is a favourite tool of dictatorships and the essence of tyranny”.
It said the government “secretly” presented before the cabinet a special agenda item and approved the Citizen Protection (Against Online harm) Rules, 2020. The petitioner said the rules are against basic and fundamental rights to information.
“The main objective of the impugned rules seems to be to control the social media though indirect control by the government and ruling party,” it said.
It says the law is against Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 19 of the Constitution, which guarantee freedom of expression. It also says they are against article 4 and 19-A of the Constitution.
He wants the court to declare the law in its present form illegal and restrain the respondents from implementing it.