On July 21, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) banned the video-streaming platform Bigo and issued a final notice to the social media giant TikTok over concerns of the Chinese-owned application promoting “immoral, obscene and vulgar content”. A statement issued at the time, read, “PTA has decided to immediately block Bigo and issue final warning to TikTok to put in place a comprehensive mechanism to control obscenity, vulgarity and immorality through its social media application.” In latest news, PTA has now banned TikTok, citing “immoral and indecent” content, reported The News.
“In view of complaints and the nature of content being consistently posted on TikTok, PTA issued a final notice to the app. TikTok was given considerable time to respond and comply with instructions to effectively moderate unlawful online content,” stated a press release issued by PTA. It added, “However, the application failed to fully comply with the instructions, therefore, directions were issued for the blocking of the TikTok application in the country.”
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TikTok has been informed that the authority “is open for engagement” and will review its decision if it finds a “satisfactory mechanism” has been employed by the video-sharing app to moderate “unlawful content”. In 2016, the Pakistani government passed the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) to regulate, among other things, content on the internet, giving the PTA broad powers to block content considered to be against “the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defence of Pakistan or … public order, decency or morality”. PTA had reportedly blocked more than 800,000 websites and platforms from being accessed within the country. Several other forms of entertainment including the video-gaming app PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) have also fallen prey to a proposed ban by the telecommunications authority in the past. Earlier, PTA declared the game to be addictive and a waste of time for children.