The high court issues orders
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has blocked the video-sharing app TikTok in the country on the orders of the Peshawar High Court (PHC), the internet regulator said Friday.
“In respectful compliance to the orders of the Peshawar High Court, PTA has issued directions to service providers to immediately block access to the the TikTok App,” the PTA said in a Twitter post.
The order to block the app was issued by the PHC Friday morning over the presence of ‘immoral content’ on the platform. In his short order, PHC Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan told the authorities that the ban should not be revoked till objectionable content is removed.
A man filed a petition in the high court on September 8, 2020. He said that he approached the court after the PTA and other institutions failed to take notice of the “immoral and objectionable” content on the app.
Aminul Haq, the federal minister for for IT and Telecom, has opposed the ban. “The ministry is against any such bans,” he had said.
Pakistan’s history with TikTok
The video-sharing app was first blocked in Pakistan on October 9, 2020 over its “obscene and immoral” content. The PTA said it had issued a final notice to the app and gave considerable time to respond and develop and an effective mechanism for ‘proactive moderation of unlawful online content.’ TikTok has failed to fully comply with the PTA’s instructions, a press release sent by the authority reads.
The ban was, however, reversed after 10 days. The PTA spokesperson said the TikTok management has assured the authority that it will block all accounts repeatedly involved in spreading obscenity and immorality and moderate content in accordance with local laws. The authority has not announced whether the app will be unblocked immediately.
The authority had said at the time of the ban that the decision was made after it received complaints ‘against immoral/indecent content’ on the app. “In view of the presence of vulgar, indecent/immoral content on the platform and its negative effects on the society, the PTA has been continuously asserting TikTok to prevent its platform from disseminating the unlawful content,” it said, adding that the app didn’t take concrete steps for blocking and removal of unlawful content.