TikTok to remain blocked until immoral content removed: PHC

PTA to block the app 'until and unless some mechanism is devised to filter the material which is immoral and indecent and goes against our norms and ethics'

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) has ruled that TikTok, a short video streaming application, will remain blocked until a mechanism is devised to remove “immoral and indecent” content from the app.

A two-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid, issued a three-page written order on Tuesday.

“No doubt, it is apparently merely an application just for entertainment but over the period, it has become an addiction to which mostly the younger generation has fallen prey. Inspired by the TikTok application, there are even reports of some teenagers having committed suicide,” the bench noted in the verdict. “Due to such activities, the TikTok application has been banned by some of the Muslim countries and certain other countries as well.”

The bench directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to block the app “until and unless some mechanism is devised to filter the material which is immoral and indecent and goes against our norms and ethics.”

Earlier on March 11, the Peshawar High Court (PHC) ruled in favour of a man who petitioned it to ban the video sharing app TikTok on moral grounds.

The ban issued by the Peshawar High Court will remain in place until TikTok takes action against objectionable content, Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan said. The court ruled that the ban should be applied starting from March 11.

“The kind of videos being uploaded on TikTok are not acceptable for our society as they are spreading obscenity and must be stopped immediately,” the PHC CJ remarked during the hearing.

Justice Rashid inquired from DG PTA whether the social media app would be affected if it was banned.

Replying in the affirmative to the court, the director general said, “We had requested the management of the app to control immoral content but no positive response had been received so far”. He added that the country’s youth was being affected by the social media platform and he termed the reports regarding the platform “sad”.

The court also inquired on the location from which the platform was being operated from, to which DG PTA replied that the head office for TikTok was located in Singapore; however, the application is operated from its Dubai office. He added that the platform has no office in Pakistan.

The PHC then ordered the closure of the social media platform till its management processes PTA’s request regarding moderation of obscene content.

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