PHC lifts ban on TikTok, directs PTA to control immoral content

LAHORE: Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Thursday lifted the ban placed on video-sharing application TikTok and directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to ensure that objectionable and immoral content isn’t uploaded on the platform.

Earlier in March, Peshawar High Court had directed PTA to immediately ban access to the Chinese video-sharing application, until a mechanism is established to filter and censor immoral content.

The bench of the PHC in their ruling commented that “No doubt, it is apparently mere an application just for entertainment but over a period it has become an addiction to which mostly the younger generation has fallen prey.” The bench also noted that some teenagers had reportedly committed suicide in the country.

Following PHC’s order to lift the ban, TikTok issued the following statement; “We are pleased that TikTok is once again available to our community in Pakistan. This is a testament to TikTok’s continued commitment to enforcing our Community Guidelines to promote a safe and positive community online.”

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“The creativity and passion of this community has brought joy to households across Pakistan and provided a home for incredibly talented creators. TikTok is excited to be able to continue enabling Pakistani voices and creativity as we work to support the success story of Pakistan. We want to acknowledge Pakistan Telecommunication Authority’s support and ongoing productive dialogue, and recognize their care for the digital experience of Pakistani users, which goes a long way to assuring a stable, enabling environment to allow us to explore further investment in Pakistan, and to keep open vital economic opportunities for Pakistani creators through TikTok,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry took the matter to Twitter and cautioned against “taking decisions that may affect the economic future of Pakistan. We need a framework to encourage international companies to make Pakistan their investment hub.”

The judge remarked that TikTok should have a mechanism to filter bad content from good content. Meanwhile, the PTA director general said the authority had talked to the TikTok management regarding permanently blocking those that continually upload such content.

The court has directed PTA to take strict action against those users that upload such content.

It was also noted that TikTok had taken measures to control this and has hired a focal person to work on content policy.

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Eleazar Bhatti
Eleazar Bhatti
The writer currently serves as the Content Manager at Profit by Pakistan Today and is an economics graduate from Leeds Business School in the UK. He can be reached at [email protected] or at twitter.com/eleazarbhatti.

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