The National Assembly passed the controversial Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill (PECB) 2015 on Thursday after the Senate’s unanimous adoption of the bill. The bill will now become a law after asserting by the President.
The bill envisages 14-year imprisonment and Rs 5 million fine for cyber terrorism, seven-year imprisonment each for campaigning against innocent people on the internet, spreading hate material on the basis of ethnicity, religion and sector taking part in child pornography.
Government is of the view that bill was need of time as there was no law for the prevention of electronics and internet related crimes in the country. It was explained that government worked for almost two years in collaboration with all stakeholders after forming a special committee. But rights activists and experts on cyber crimes are still raising voices against the bill and terming it as a draconian law which would curtail freedom of expression significantly. They say most of the amendments made are cosmetic in nature and bill is still harsh.
After putting glance on the bill, one will come to know that it is aimed more on empowering state rather than its citizens. The bill has many grey areas and poorly worded definitions of terms. For example terms ‘unlawful content’ malicious intent” or “dishonest intention” indeed required comprehensive explanation. Few Opposition members are claiming that there are great chances that government departments and authorities can misuse the bill. There is also need to take measures that bill could not misused. There is also dire need to educate the masses about technical provisions of the bill so innocents refrain unharmed from harshness of it.
Govt needs to make sure bill which is being considered controversial could not be misused.