Government seeks Rs. 20 billion to control social media

The federal government of Pakistan plans to allocate Rs. 20 billion in the next fiscal year to enhance cybersecurity and regulate social media. This initiative is part of a broader effort to improve digital security and manage online content more effectively.

To ensure proper regulation, only social media companies with offices in Pakistan will be permitted to operate within the country. This requirement aims to enhance oversight and accountability of social media platforms.

The Ministry of IT & Telecom has requested this Rs. 20 billion funding for the Digital Information Infrastructure Initiative (DIII) in the 2024-25 budget. The initiative is designed to strengthen the country’s digital framework and improve the management of online information. Previously, the IT Ministry received Rs. 15 billion for the DIII project during the current fiscal year. The total cost of the DIII project is estimated at $135 million, approximately Rs. 38 billion. This substantial investment underscores the government’s commitment to developing a robust digital infrastructure.

The primary goal of this funding is to regulate social media platforms, prevent their misuse, and combat malicious campaigns. These efforts will be carried out under the guidelines of the Pakistan Electronic Crime Act (PECA) 2016. PECA was established to address various forms of cybercrime and ensure a safer online environment for Pakistani citizens.

The new funding will be used to enhance existing cybersecurity measures and develop new strategies to protect against cyber threats. This includes implementing advanced technologies and training personnel to handle cyber incidents more effectively.

By regulating social media companies and requiring them to have local offices, the government hopes to increase transparency and ensure these companies comply with Pakistani laws and regulations. This move is also expected to create more job opportunities within the country, as social media companies will need to hire local staff for their operations.

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