According to the ruling, specific videos on the standard website are “unacceptable for Pakistani society.”
TikTok banned in Pakistan once again alleging the short-form video app’s offensive content. Following a brief 10-day shutdown in October of last year, Pakistan has banned the ByteDance website for the second time.
TikTok was suspended last fall for hosting “immoral” and “indecent” videos. However, the organization was able to convince the Pakistani government. It said that the videos would be moderated “in compliance with social standards and the laws of Pakistan.”
Thus, the app reopened a week and a half later.
Even though the company has tens of millions of users in Pakistan, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority, the government’s telecom regulatory agency, has been ordered to ban the app from complying with a high court in Peshawar.
The statement reads, “In respectful accordance with the orders of the Peshawar High Court, PTA has given instructions to service providers to block access to the TikTok App immediately.”
“The PHC ordered the blocking of App today during the hearing of a case.”
TikTok’s legality in Pakistan
It’s unclear why TikTok’s legality in Pakistan has called into question once again. Or whether any particular video or trend on the app is to blame. According to sources, Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan lodged a lawsuit accusing TikTok. The reason was to host content that is “unacceptable for Pakistani society.”
Mr. Khan called several videos on the standard website “unacceptable for Pakistani society.”
Also, he directed the country’s internet regulator to shut it down before it implements content restrictions that the court approves.
TikTok said that the website is based on creative expression, with strict protections in place to keep objectionable content off the platform.
“In Pakistan, we’ve extended our local-language moderation unit. Moreover, we’ve set in place protocols for reporting and deleting content that breaches our group’s guidelines. Thus, we are excited to continue serving Pakistan’s millions of TikTok users and developers who have found a home for their imagination and fun.”
TikTok Banned Previously
IN OCTOBER, the PTA banned TikTok over similar charges, alleging that the website refused to screen out “immoral and indecent” content. But it lifted the ban ten days later. It said that TikTok’s management had told Pakistani authorities that “all accounts repeatedly engaged in promoting obscenity and immorality would be blocked.”
According to the analytics company Sensor Tower, the app, which helps users exchange short videos, is widespread in the South Asian nation of 220 million people, with more than 20 million active monthly users.
Hundreds of thousands of Pakistani users follow famous Pakistani users on the website.
TikTok has faced a slew of controversial government bans. The other sanctions around the world, most notably a countrywide ban in India after last summer. And the Trump administration’s clumsy effort to push the company to cooperate with a US tech firm to allay concerns about the Chinese government control over the site. (Under President Joe Biden, the deal with cloud giant Oracle appears to be on life support.)
The video-centric social network has faced the most significant resistance in and around Southeast Asia. And the policymakers have applied traditional media control to the video-centric social network by enacting laws and regulations specifying obscene or unethical content.
The PTA is empowered under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) to block content based on several requirements. Including if it is against the glory of Islam or the dignity, protection, or safety of Pakistan or public order, courtesy, or morals.
According to rights organizations, the mechanism and conditions for blocking posts have been ambiguous for a long time. And they often violate citizens’ rights to freedom of speech.
“The government closely regulates the internet climate in Pakistan.”
In accordance of to the US-based Freedom House’s 2020 Freedom of the Net index.
Pakistan passed a stringent new legislation package in November. It bolsted the PTA’s powers under PECA. And it ordered social media sites of more than 500,000 users to open offices in the country.