ISLAMABAD: As Pakistan closes in on eradicating polio, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s office has urged the country’s telecoms regulator to take action against misinformation spread on social media discouraging vaccination against it and other diseases.

“The parental refusals due to misconceptions regarding the vaccine are emerging as the major obstacle in achieving complete eradication,” the PM’s office said in a letter to the head of the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority, referring to parents who refuse to get their children vaccinated.

The letter, issued on Thursday and posted on Twitter on Friday, was headed “Removal of Anti Vaccine Content from Facebook and YouTube”.

No comment was immediately available from either company.

Separately on Friday, Facebook Inc, which along with other social media companies has faced growing pressure over spurious content spread on its platform, announced it would remove user groups and pages that contained misinformation about vaccinations.

Last month, online video sharing site YouTube, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc, said it would take action to stop advertising revenue to channels promoting anti-vaccination content.

Published in Dawn, March 9th, 2019