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National Social Media Coordination Working Group holds first meeting

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The National Social Media Coordination Working Group (NSMCWG), which was recently formed by Prime Minister Imran Khan, held its first meeting under the chairmanship of the National Security Advisor Dr. Moeed Yusuf in Islamabad on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Imran Khan constituted the NSMCWG to work on relevant policies related to social media, provide input to the government of Pakistan on social media-related issues and engage with international social media companies in a coherent and coordinated manner.

The Working Group consists of the Ministry of Information &Technology as the Lead ministry, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, the Ministry of Law & Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Commerce, the Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Digital Media (Spokesperson), the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and the Digital Media Wing as permanent members while Chair of the NSMWG can include any other ministry/department or Think Tank as Co-opted member as and when required.

As per the TORs, the NSMCWG will act as a body to coordinate structured engagement with social media companies.

It is expected to make policy and legislative recommendations to encourage investments of social media companies in Pakistan in compliance with the government  policies.

During the meeting, Dr. Moeed Yusuf said that the main purpose of this group is to have seamless coordination with all relevant ministries & stakeholders and incorporate their input.

Dr. Moeed Yusuf emphasized upon data backed policy making in accordance with international best practices while keeping Pakistani sensitivities in mind.

For the next meeting, representatives from the State Bank of Pakistan and the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) will also be called to give input about the taxation policies regarding social media companies.

The Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Digital Media Dr. Arslan Khalid, who is also the Spokesperson of NSMCWG said “Social media is one subject which is being dealt by many ministries and departments. It was observed that there was weak coordination between the government stake holders resulting in delays and confusion over some policy matters. This working group will bring all the relevant stake holders on one platform which will help in better result-oriented engagement with the social media companies”.

The National Social Media Working group was notified by Prime Minister Imran Khan last week and is expected to report to the Prime Minister on its proceedings regularly.

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