980,000 links containing objectionable content blocked, PTA tells IHC

ISLAMABAD, January 31, 2021: The Pakistan Tel­ecommunication Authority (PTA) has told the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that till January 2021, the authority has blocked 980,000 links containing hate speech, controversial and objectionable content.

The PTA in a report submitted to the IHC stated that out of blocked content an overwhelming majority was of pornographic material.

According to the report, 865,187 links of pornographic websites were blocked.

Over 16,000 links of websites and blogs containing hate material against defence forces and national security were also removed by the authority. Whereas 22,000 pieces of content containing sectarianism were also blocked.

The PTA report stated that in order to remove content from popular social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, the authority contacted the management of the respective websites.

The court was told that in order to secure the digital space of the country, the PTA is working along with the ministries of defence and information technology.

It said that the telecommunication companies have been instructed to install a web management system which is helping in countering grey traffick. As per the report, the authority can block web pages, URLs and links under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (Peca).

The authority said that the online complaint portal has been established and 36 departments of the federal and provincial governments as well as the stakeholders were given access to this portal.

Published in Dawn, January 31st, 2021

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