Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar on Sunday directed the Federal Investigation Agency's (FIA) Cyber Crime Wing to take action against "those ridiculing Pakistan Army on social media" in order to protect "the prestige, reputation and goodwill" of the armed forces.

"As far as the freedom of speech is concerned, the Constitution makes it clear that national security and defence institutions would not be criticised and that citizens would not engage themselves in any activity that causes damage to the prestige, reputation and goodwill of Pak Army," Nisar was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the ministry.

"Ridiculing Pakistan Army or its officers in the name of freedom of speech is unacceptable," he added.

The statement further said that targeting such a prestigious and disciplined institution of the country for the sake of particular interests was not only a matter of concern but a severe offence.

The minister directed the FIA Cyber Crime Wing to take strict action against all those involved in the practice "intentionally or unintentionally".

The minister directed the authority to take action without any discrimination regardless of the political affiliation and profession of those involved.

The statement comes two days after Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) warned TV channels not to air content jeopardising the military's image.

The regulator warned all TV channels against airing unverified news or analysis themed around the Pakistan Army or its relationship with the civilian government.

Pemra made it clear that all news and current affairs TV channels, including its employees, panellists and anchorpersons, shall not divulge in discussing unverified news or analysis pertaining to the country's civil-military relations without confirmation from the concerned institution.

"Those found in violation of the new Pemra guideline would be charged under Section 27 of the Pemra Ordinance 2002," the press release stated.

The measures were taken in the wake of criticism against the Army on social media after the later withdrew a tweet in connection with a notification issued by the office of the prime minister.

Note: The headline of this article was changed for the purposes of clarity.


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