Nisar, VP Facebook discuss steps to remove blasphemous content

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APP28-07 ISLAMABAD: July 07 – Interior Minister Ch. Nisar Ali Khan in a meeting with Vice President of Facebook, Mr. Joel Kaplan at Punjab House. APP

ISLAMABAD, July 7 (APP): Minister for Interior, Chaudhry Nisar
Ali Khan and Vice President of Facebook, Joel Kaplan Friday
discussed steps and actions being taken to remove blasphemous
content that is illegal in Pakistan.
Facebook, on its part, has reiterated its commitment to keep
platform safe and promote values that are in congruence with its
community standards. It also committed to remove fake accounts,
explicit, hateful and provocative material that incites violence and
terrorism.
Giving details of the meeting, a spokesperson of Ministry of
Interior said this is for the first time that a senior member of
Facebook management dealing with Global Public Policy has visited
Pakistan to discuss way forward towards addressing issue of misuse
of social media platforms, especially Facebook which has over 33
million users in Pakistan.
The minister, the spokesperson said, has been playing a
proactive role in engaging Internet Service Providers and finding
solution to issue of misuse of social media.
This also included convening of a special meeting of ambassadors of the
Muslim countries in March on a single point agenda to discuss blasphemous content on social media and how to effectively raise voice of entire Muslim world against madness unleashed against Islam and holy personalities in name of freedom of expression.
This was followed by a meeting of the minister with secretary
general OIC on April 11, on this issue.
The minister said entire Muslim Ummah is greatly disturbed
and has serious concerns over misuse of social media platforms to
propagate blasphemous content.
“Nothing is more sacred to us than our religion and our holy
personalities,” the minister observed.
He said the government of Pakistan firmly believes in freedom
of expression but we cannot allow anyone to misuse social media for
hurting religious sentiments or undertaking unlawful activities.
Chaudhry Nisar said, “We appreciate understanding shown by
Facebook administration and cooperation being extended to us on
these issues.”
The minister also appreciated Facebook for bridging
communication gaps and providing people a platform not only to
interact but also serving as a vehicle for promotion of education,
businesses, socio-economic development and empowering women in
the country.
To further this purpose in Pakistan, the minister also
encouraged Facebook to open up office in Pakistan.
Local offices of service providers would not only help them
extending their outreach but would also be instrumental in
bringing the government and service providers further closer to each
other and forge a mutually beneficial partnership, the minister continued.
During the meeting, Kaplan highlighted various
initiatives of Facebook that are aimed at skill development and
economic growth programmes in Pakistan, working with developers,
small businesses and women in the country.
He said Facebook’s Developers Circles- a free community-led
programme for developers to connect, learn and collaborated with
other local developers – have been started in Lahore and Karachi
and would be launched in Islamabad soon.
Lahore is one of the largest developer circles in the world with
more than 2,000 community members.
Kaplan also informed the minister that Facebook has
recently launched a digital literacy campaign called iChamp with a
goal to touch secondary schools on a mass scale across Pakistan
to educate youth on benefits and safe use of internet.
The programme will be supported by Facebook’s Free Basic
project that provides free access to dozens of fun and learning
websites.
Covering 76 districts across all four provinces, Gilgit
Baltistan and Azad Kashmir, an estimated 600,000 students will be
trained by experts through Free Basics with free handbook and other
resources.
Chaudhry Nisar appreciated various initiatives of Facebook and
observed that there was a need to further strengthen our
collaboration by exploring new avenues of cooperation.