Islamabad, November 21: Tech giants and social media companies including Facebook, Google and Twitter have threatened to leave Pakistan after the Imran Khan-led government in the Islamic nation introduced new rules and allowed  authorities to censor digital content. As per critics, the new rules are  believed to be a move which was aimed at curtailing freedom of expression in the conservative nation. The Asia Internet Coalition (AIC) of which Google, Facebook and Twitter are part of, issued a statement expressing alarm over the scope of new rules that have been issued by the Pakistani government.

The Asia Internet Coalition represents global technology giants including Google, Facebook and Twitter. The global technology companies have told the Pakistan government that its new data regulations would make it extremely difficult for them to continue their operations. The IT ministry of Pakistan on Wednesday had notified rules to define how social media will be governed in the country. Zee5 Banned in Pakistan? Online Payments for Indian OTT Player Blocked by State Bank of Pakistan

“The draconian data localisation requirements will damage the ability of people to access a free and open internet and shut Pakistan’s digital economy off from the rest of the world,” the AIC said. The AIC has repeatedly urged the government to adopt a comprehensive consultation strategy since February when the rules were first released. According to PTI, AIC has said if Pakistan wanted to be an attractive destination for technology investment and realise its goal of digital transformation, then it should work with industry on practical, clear rules that protect the benefits of the internet and keep people safe from harm.

According to the new rules announced by the Ministry of Information and Technology on Wednesday, social media companies and internet service providers shall provide the designated investigation agency with any information or data in decrypted, readable and comprehensible format, the Dawn newspaper reported.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Nov 21, 2020 03:00 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website