ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has established a Cyber Vigilance Division (CVD) to handle complaints against unlawful online content under Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA).

In order to handle this gigantic role, PTA has also developed a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for lodging complaints and their disposal has been developed accordingly.

All such contents which are hosted on unsecured websites is being currently handled through telecom operators  of Pakistan and same is being done by PTA itself through an automated system.

On the contrary, any content which is unlawful and hosted on secured web site is handled differently. The popular social media  websites like facebook, youtube and twitter etc. are a few examples of secured websites  which are hosted out side of physical boundaries of Pakistan.

As per PTA’s latest report, the Authority, in this regard, has developed close liaison with all such platforms  to honour requests made for removal of such content. It said historically and predominantly, PTA has been acting under functions and powers given by  Pakistan Telecom (Re-organization) Act, 1996.

However, with development and growth of World Wide Web  (www), PTA has been entrusted upon  responsibilities for blocking/removing of any content which is declared unlawful under relevant provisions of  the law. This responsibility was handed over to PTA under Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA), 2016.

Since the promulgation of PECA, PTA stands committed to its responsibilities to facilitate aggrieved Internet  users and stakeholders, including but not limited to government organizations, public offices, business entities and other agencies.

In this course, PECA also identifies the areas under which blocking/removal of unlawful content would be  addressed  which are “against the glory of Islam, against the integrity,  security and defense of Pakistan, public order, contempt of  court, against decency & morality and incitement of any offices under section 37 of the PECA, 2016”.

The complaints received with PTA against unlawful  online content including Anti State, Anti Judiciary, Blasphemy etc. In this regard, PTA has blocked 824,878 URLs so far which came in its jurisdiction under PECA.

It is pertinent to mention that users of social media must  act responsibly while using and accessing such platforms and should honor the norms of society and laws of the land.

In case of objectionable content is observed by any user,  these platforms are open to receive complaints from valuable  users directly.

Relatively high value is given to complainant/users who report to platforms any objectionable material directly. Those  complaints which are not addressed by these platforms in the  first instance can be reported to PTA at info@pta.gov.pk for  escalating the matter.