Social media monitoring committees are formed by the AJK government

The Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) government has announced stringent measures against the misuse of social media platforms, sparking a debate over freedom of expression. In response to concerns about objectionable content, maligning, and blackmailing on social media, the AJK government has initiated a crackdown on offenders.

The decision entails the establishment of a Social Media Monitoring Cell and Social Media Monitoring Committee, tasked with overseeing compliance with existing laws on social media platforms. The Home Department of AJK issued a notification outlining the formation of these monitoring bodies.

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The notification states that the Assistant Director of Social Media, the Director of Public Relations, and information officers from the relevant districts will be part of the Social Media Monitoring Cell. Their task will be to locate and report offensive or misleading material that is intended to intimidate or defame public figures or those performing official duties.

The Social Media Monitoring Committee will also include representatives from the Home Department, Law Department, Police, and Information Directorate, among other departments. This committee will examine the monitoring cell’s reports, evaluate their content, and suggest that offenders face criminal charges in accordance with applicable legislation.

However, social media activists and journalists have criticised these actions, saying that they violate people’s right to free speech. They contend that these committees might stifle criticism on social media and obstruct the free exchange of ideas.

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