ISLAMABAD - In order to curb hate material and terrorism glorification on internet, particularly on social media, Ministry of Information Technology on Tuesday directed ministries concerned to establish their own units for the purpose and appoint focal persons for coordination with Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

In current scenario each relevant ministry and department should have its own unit and an authorised focal person to coordinate with PTA for forwarding any such complaints after their thorough evaluation so that appropriate implementation of NAP could be ensured, said state minister of IT while chairing a meeting called to review the implementation of IT & Telecom related provisions of National Action Plan (NAP).

The meeting was attended by representatives of interior ministry, religious affairs ministry, Pemra, NITB, FIA, NTISB, and security agencies. IT Secretary Mr Azmat Ali Ranjha, PTA Chairman Syed Ismail Shah, Member (Telecom) Mr Mudassar Hussain, Member (Legal) Mrs Ameena Sohail also attended the meeting.

According to the officials, a news story, ‘No ban on banned outfits on social media’, carried in Monday’s issue of The Nation newspaper was also discussed in the meeting. According to the news item local and international banned terrorist organisations are active on internet and their websites are easily accessible throughout the country.

Official sources said the IT ministry directed attendants of the meeting to evaluate hate material and terrorism related websites. “We have directed all the concerned ministries to establish monitoring units and help Pakistan Telecommunication Authority by pointing out the websites which are promoting sectarianism and terrorism,” an official said. These units will refer such complaints, material or websites with specific URLs to PTA so that PTA could take action within the ambit of law as required.

IT state minister also directed PTA to establish liaison with social media platforms. A complaint cell is already functional at PTA for evaluation of complaints received from general public. But PTA has no powers to take any action on its own and it can only act if someone launches a written complain. According to officials, this mechanism will be further reviewed after final order of IHC on the subject.

Also, the ministries concerned lack experts and technology to identify such material. They would have to acquire human resource and technology as IT ministry, or PTA alone cannot fight this big war on social media and internet, the official said.