PTA blocks TikTok in Pakistan thumbnail

PTA blocks TikTok in Pakistan

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority blocked TikTok, a video-sharing app, in Pakistan Wednesday for the fifth time under the Cybercrime Act, 2016.

Along with the application, TikTok’s website has been blocked as well.

“In the light of relevant provisions of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016, PTA has blocked access to TikTok App and website in the country,” the authority tweeted.

“The action has been taken due to the continuous presence of inappropriate content on the platform and its failure to take such content down.”

Pakistan’s history with TikTok

The video-sharing app was first blocked in Pakistan on October 9, 2020, over its “obscene and immoral” content. The PTA said it had issued a final notice to the app and gave considerable time to respond and develop and an effective mechanism for ‘proactive moderation of unlawful online content.’ TikTok has failed to fully comply with the PTA’s instructions, a press release sent by the authority reads.

Related: TikTok ban divides Pakistanis

The ban was, however, reversed after 10 days. The PTA spokesperson said the TikTok management has assured the authority that it will block all accounts repeatedly involved in spreading obscenity and immorality and moderate content in accordance with local laws. The authority has not announced whether the app will be unblocked immediately.

The authority had said at the time of the ban that the decision was made after it received complaints ‘against immoral/indecent content’ on the app. “In view of the presence of vulgar, indecent/immoral content on the platform and its negative effects on the society, the PTA has been continuously asserting TikTok to prevent its platform from disseminating the unlawful content,” it said, adding that the app didn’t take concrete steps for blocking and removal of unlawful content.

The PTA blocked TikTok for the second time on the high court’s orders on March 11.

“In respectful compliance to the orders of the Peshawar High Court, PTA has issued directions to service providers to immediately block access to the TikTok App,” the PTA said in a Twitter post.

The order to block the app was issued by the PHC over the presence of “immoral content” on the platform. In his short order, PHC Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan told the authorities that the ban should not be revoked till objectionable content is removed.

A man filed a petition in the high court on September 8, 2020. He said that he approached the court after the PTA and other institutions failed to take notice of the “immoral and objectionable” content on the app.

The ban was reversed after three weeks.

The app was blocked for the fourth time on orders of the Sindh High Court on June 28 over “immoral” and “objectionable” content. The ban was reversed after four days after PTA assured the content will be monitored.

TikTok has removed over six million videos in Pakistan due to nude and sexual content, from January till March this year, it announced.

The exact number of videos removed from January till March was
6,495,992. Pakistan is second on the list behind the US where 8,540,088
videos were removed.

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