A right leaning Indian news channel known for its strong pro-government stance and firebrand host has been fined by the UK TV censor Ofcom for broadcasting hate speech about Pakistan .
Republic TV was fined £20,000 for airing a segment on its UK
service, which conveyed the view that all Pakistani people are terrorists, including their scientists, doctors, their leaders, politicians [...] Even their sports people.
The primetime show Poochta Hai Bharat aired on 6 September 2019 on
the Hindi-language version of the channel, Republic Bharat.
Republic TV is one of the most widely watched channels in India, with news anchor and founder Arnab Goswami hosting aggressive current affairs debates, which regularly air rightwing opinions
while pointing and shouting at viewers down the camera.
Ofcom said it had received multiple complaints from viewers for the highly pejorative references to members of the Pakistani community (eg continually referring to them as 'filthy') on Goswami's
Ofcom summarised that the show failed to comply with UK broadcasting rules as it had spread, incited, promoted and justified such intolerance towards Pakistani people among viewers.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has analysed the provisions of a new set of online content regulations that the Pakistani government decreed without any consultation with stakeholders, and which are clearly designed to impose draconian online censorship.
Published last month by the information ministry and entitled Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content (Procedure, Oversight and Safeguards), Rules 2020 , the new regulations replace an earlier set of rules that were suspended in
February because of a civil society outcry .They have ended up going much further, granting disproportionate and discretionary powers to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the online content regulator, which is a direct government offshoot.
On national security grounds, the rules provide for the withdrawal or blocking of any content that excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the federal or provincial government or harms the reputation of any person holding public
office. It is equally concerning that the rules also provide for the censorship of any content regarded as indecent, immoral or harmful to the glory of Islam , without giving any precise definition of these extremely vague concepts. The
interpretation is left to the PTA, which thereby acquires arbitrary and almost infinite powers.
The rules also empower the PTA to act as both plaintiff and judge. It is the PTA that decides, without reference to a court , whether content violates the
criminal code and, worse still, it is the PTA that reexamines cases in the event of a challenge, and rules on any appeals.
Platforms are also legally obliged to hand over user data when asked, including data from private and encrypted communications.
And platforms with more than 500,000 users are required to open an office in Pakistan, install servers there and register with the authorities.
US internet companies Facebook, Google and Twitter and others have banded together and threatened to leave Pakistan after the country granted blanket censorship powers to censor content the government doesn't like.
Earlier this week, Pakistan Prime
Minister Imran Khan granted the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority the power to remove and block digital content that pose harms, intimidates or excites disaffection toward the government or in other ways hurt the integrity, security, and defence of
Through a group called the Asia Internet Coalition Asia (AIC), the tech firms said that they were alarmed by the scope of Pakistan's new law. In addition to Facebook, Google, and Twitter, AIC represents Apple, Amazon, LinkedIn, SAP,
Expedia Group, Yahoo, Airbnb, Grab, Rakuten, Booking.com, Line, and Cloudflare.
The draconian data localization 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
Under the new law, tech companies that fail to remove or block the unlawful content from their platforms within 24 hours of notice from Pakistan authorities also face a fine of up to $3.14 million.
Pakistan authorities have blocked Tinder, Grindr and three other dating apps for not adhering to local laws, its latest move to curb online platforms deemed to be disseminating immoral content.
The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority said it has
sent notices to the management of the five apps, keeping in view the negative effects of immoral/indecent content streaming. PTA said the notices issued to Tinder, Grindr, Tagged, Skout and SayHi sought the removal of dating services and moderation of
live streaming content in accordance with local laws.
Data from analytics firm Sensor Tower shows Tinder has been downloaded more than 440,000 times in Pakistan within the last 12 months. Grindr, Tagged and SayHi had each been downloaded about
300,000 times and Skout 100,000 times in that same period.