Hearing adjourned till April 6
The ban on TikTok will remain in place until a mechanism to monitor “immoral, vulgar, indecent, objectionable and lewd” material on the application is devised, the Peshawar High Court ordered on Tuesday.
Last week, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority blocked TikTok on orders of the court. PHC Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan told the authorities that the ban should not be revoked till objectionable content is removed.
In a hearing on Tuesday, PTA Director General Kamran Khan told the court that the matter has been taken to the app’s headquarters in Singapore multiple times but the desired results have not been achieved yet.
“As there’s no TikTok office at a domestic level, we feel handicapped to control or restrict the content uploaded,” he said.
The court discussed that an app created merely for entertainment has “become an addiction to which mostly younger generations fall prey”. Due to these reasons, the app has been banned in other Muslim countries as well.
“Hence, we direct to ban the TikTok application unless a mechanism is devised to filter the indecent and immoral content on it,” Justice Rashid ordered.
The case has been adjourned till April 6.
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.