Pakistan bans TikTok again for ‘immoral content’

Pakistan has banned TikTok, China’s video-sharing app, for the second time. The Pakistani media regulator undertook the move on Thursday after a court order citing “unethical and immoral content” on the platform.

“Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) has issued directions to the service providers to immediately block access to the TikTok app,” the regulator said following the order from the Peshawar high court.

The regulator didn’t provide details on whether the ban was temporary or permanent. The Peshawar high court said that some videos uploaded on the platform were “unacceptable” for Pakistani society.

Two lawyers sought the ban for videos “contrary to ethical standards and moral values of Pakistan.” They requested the court to block TikTok until it complied with the guidelines offered by the PTA last year.

The app has previously come under the radar of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s advisers, who have said the platform promotes the “exploitation, objectification and sexualization” of young girls.

Not the first ban

Pakistan had blocked TikTok temporarily in October 2020 for a few days, and the ban was lifted after TikTok’s management assured the Pakistani government they would block all accounts “repeatedly involved in spreading obscenity and immorality.”

The country has a patchy history with social media content, similar to its neighboring nation, India. The latter has already blocked TikTok following a border skirmish with China in the region of Ladakh.

In 2020, the PTA had asked YouTube to block all videos that the regulator considered “objectionable” from the platform.

TikTok challenged the latest ban in Pakistan. “TikTok is built upon the foundation of creative expression, with strong safeguards in place to keep inappropriate content off the platform,” it said.

Last year Pakistani regulators had asked YouTube to immediately block all videos they consider “objectionable” from being accessed in the country, a demand criticized by rights campaigners.

By DW News

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