LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Sunday strongly opposed a proposed Senate resolution seeking to ban all social media platforms and warned the members of the upper house that such “ill-judged” measures that violate people’s constitutional right to freedom of expression.

The HRCP statement came a day after Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi, submitted a resolution calling for a complete ban on Facebook, X, TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, deeming them detrimental to the future of the young generation.

“In the first instance, such a resolution is as nonsensical as it is impractical. With social media platform X having been shut down since Feb 17, it is ironic to see that political parties, state institutions, government representatives and legislators (including Senator Bahramand Tangi, who moved this resolution) continue to use X by means of virtual private networks (VPNs),” HRCP Chairman Asad Iqbal Butt said in a statement.

Second, access to social media has empowered ordinary citizens to exchange information, earn livelihoods, lobby for their rights and freedoms, hold duty bearers accountable, and mobilise around social and political causes, the HRCP said. “Any attempt to curb digital freedoms wholesale betrays a shocking ignorance of how modern democracies and economies function,” Mr Butt said.

“Finally, successive governments have frequently and arbitrarily shut down social media for ‘security concerns’ even prior to the 2024 elections. There is no evidence to suggest that such a step has made society any safer,” he added.

Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2024

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