(Islamabad: 2nd March, 2020): In a news item titled “Rights groups to boycott talks with govt over online rules” published in Dawn on 2nd March 2020, a reference has been made to the ‘abuse of authority by PTA and misuse of PECA to stifle dissent’. PTA wishes to clarify that such assertions are unfounded and in no way represent the reality.
PTA has always acted in accordance with the provisions of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA, 2016). PECA provides procedure for entertaining & processing of complaints with regards to blocking access to unlawful online content. Any aggrieved person from a decision of the Authority has a right to file an application for review of the order within 30 days as per section 37 (4) of PECA. In addition, the decision of the Authority may further be assailed before the High Court within 30 days under section 37 (5) of the Act.
Since enactment of PECA in 2016, only a handful of cases have been filed for review before the Authority or before the High Courts which reflects that the process of removing illegal content is done in accordance with the law and there is no abuse of authority by PTA.
Khurram Ali Mehran