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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks to Sigve Brekke, president and chief executive officer of Telenor Group, at PM Office on Tuesday.—PPI
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks to Sigve Brekke, president and chief executive officer of Telenor Group, at PM Office on Tuesday.—PPI

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday urged the Facebook management to play its role in checking misuse of social media in spreading fake news, violence and hate content.

During a meeting with Simon Milner, Vice President of Public Policy, Facebook Singapore, who called on him at the Prime Minister Office, Mr Khan underscored the need for putting in place “a robust mechanism to effectively check misuse of social media in spreading fake news, violence and hate content”.

“Facebook, with its large number of subscribers, can play a significant role towards checking negative attempts that threaten our society and social values,” he said.

Special assistants to the PM Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari and Iftikhar Durrani and senior officials also attended the meeting.

The prime minister said a huge potential existed for Facebook to develop online communities within Pakistan in the field of social service, especially in promotion of community health services and raising health awareness campaigns in remote areas of the country.

He appreciated Facebook’s existing global outreach and efforts for building online communities towards promoting social connectivity among peoples and communities across the world. He acknowledged the role of Facebook and social media in raising awareness among public on critical issues.

Approves formation of a task force on technology-driven knowledge economy

Mr Milner briefed the prime minister on various initiatives being taken by Facebook to create online communities, reaching out to remote communities, facilitating access to health services, garnering community responses towards disaster management and checking the misuse of social media.

Meanwhile, the prime minister approved, in principle, the formation of a task force on technology-driven knowledge economy during a meeting with prominent educationist Dr Atta-ur-Rehman.

The task force will comprise leading scientists/engineers and representatives of the private sector and federal and provincial governments, said a press release issued by the media wing of PM Office.

It is being established with an aim to carry out foresight exercises at regular intervals in order to constantly re-evaluate national priorities and put in place strategies and action plans, with delineated timelines, to build a powerful knowledge economy.

The prime minister said building intellectual capital of the country, industrialisation and development of human capital, enhancement of value-added produce along with quality management for optimisation of productivity were among the foremost priorities of his government.

Mr Khan said that there existed huge potential in the youths of the country to excel and secure Pakistan’s share in medium and hi-technologies.

Dr Atta-ur-Rehman briefed the prime minister about progress on the construction of Pak-Austrian institute at Haripur and establishment of a centre of excellence with the help of China in mineral resources engineering, railway engineering and agriculture food technologies.

During a separate meeting with Sigve Brekke, President and Chief Executive Officer of Telenor Group, the prime minister reiterated his government’s commitment to facilitating investors so that they could take full advantage of the huge potential existing in the growing economy of Pakistan.

He appreciated Telenor’s contribution to the telecom sector and said the government wanted to develop a knowledge-based economy in the country and valued Telenor as an important partner in developing the ecosystem that supported his party’s development agenda.

Mr Brekke said that Telenor’s experience of investment in Pakistan was ‘very satisfactory’ and thanked the government for its continued support for the telecom sector and for encouraging foreign direct investments into the country.

The Telenor group, he said, had been operating in Pakistan since 2005 and had made a significant impact on the socio-economic uplift of the country.

The group has invested over $3.5 billion and created over 5,000 direct jobs, in addition to hundreds of thousands of indirect jobs.

Mr Brekke said that future plans of Telenor included scaling up financial services, connecting farmers to the digital world and extending its services to healthcare and digital entrepreneurship.

Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2018

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