Islamabad, 2 October 2020
Media Matters for Democracy has published a White Paper on Reforms for the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) 2016.
PECA 2016 is a contentious legislation that provides the primary mechanism for online content regulation and the investigation and prosecution of cyber offences in Pakistan.
The policy paper relies on an extensive review of literature to articulate the need for reforms in the law. The paper examines the available literature on the legal issues and implementation status of the law to analyse key concerns and presents a discussion on the current policy context and possible policy options regarding Internet governance. The paper offers six key recommendations to reform PECA, including decriminalisation of online expression and defamation, removal of content regulation from the cybercrimes law, and capacity building for investigative and judicial functions.
The white paper was produced as part of the Civil society for Independent Media and Expression (CIME) initiative, jointly undertaken by the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives, Media Matters for Democracy, and Pakistan Press Foundation. The joint initiative, CIME, aims to contribute to enhanced protection and promotion of freedom of expression and right to information for citizens in Pakistan. In connection with these fundamental rights, the project will increase availability of knowledge about policy trends, raise awareness about policy gaps, and practical challenges that limit the effective use of rights, build capacity for civil society stakeholders, and develop support networks for stakeholders that require assistance.
Access the policy paper here.