Orwellian schemes.

THE proposed task force to police social media for 'anti-army' content is a bad idea, simply because such vague schemes very much have the potential to be misused, and can end up as tools to crack down further on free speech. As reported on Friday, the government is mulling the formation of the task force to check online content critical of the military; personnel from the FIA, PTA, Nadra and the LEAs are supposed to man this force. However, rather than seeking to genuinely protect state institutions from a real threat from hostile actors, this appears to be a political move, as those associated with the ruling set-up have accused the PTI of running anti-military campaigns. This is only the latest in a series of arbitrary moves to increase punishment for criticism of the army and other state institutions. For example, last month the cabinet considered a bill to intensify the crackdown on social media, while in April 2021, during the PTI's rule, a law was proposed that called for two years in jail and a fine for those who 'intentionally ridicule the armed forces'.

Such proposed laws and task forces are anathema to democratic culture. In a free society, all state institutions must be open to criticism from the people. True, clear cases of...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT