Thursday Oct 15, 2020
The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday took notice of YouTube channels being opened in Pakistan without any proper mechanism in place.
LHC Chief Justice Qasim Khan heard the case related to the non-removal of offensive content from on social media. Expressing indignation over the circulation of offensive content on social media, the chief justice questioned how YouTube channels were being launched across the country.
“Under which law are YouTube channels running and who monitors the content [on the video-sharing platform] ?” the judge inquired.
He also remarked that derogatory language was being used on the platform against the judiciary and that he would not allow anyone to violate the sanctity of the institution.
“How many cases have been registered by the FIA so far and how many people have been arrested?” he asked.
The court sought immediate details from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on the matter and also asked if everything was happening under government's supervision.
The additional attorney general told the court that action is taking whenever a complaint is filed on a grievance:
"Will the judges of the judiciary now lodge complaints with the FIA?" asked the chief justice angrily.
Angry at the FIA for not taking action over the issue, the LHC chief justice remarked that the agency should be closed down.
The development comes days after the government had blocked Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok after the company "failed to fully comply" with its instructions for “development of an effective mechanism for proactive moderation of unlawful online content”.
The PTA said the step was taken after the authority said it received a number of complaints from different segments of society against "immoral and indecent" content on the video-sharing application.
Moreover, in a July hearing, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had taken notice of objectionable content on social media platforms in the country, noting that such forums were rife with content that incite hate against Pakistan’s institutions.
The apex court was hearing a case against suspect Shaukat Ali pertaining to a sectarian crime when the topic came under discussion.
During the hearing, Justice Qazi Ameen said that the public, through YouTube videos, is being instigated against the Army, judiciary, and the government.
“Was action taken against those who committed this crime?” said the judge, asking further if the Federal Investigation Agency and Pakistan Telecommunications Authority have noticed the content that is being uploaded on YouTube.
“On YouTube and social media, even our families are not being spared (from criticism),” said Justice Ameen.