Pakistan, then fifth most populous country in the world, has joined neighbours India to ban video-sharing app, Tiktok, on the grounds of “immoral” and “indecent” content.
A Peshawar court in the nation of 216.6 million citizens had given the order to the country’s telecom regulators, the Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA), who consented to comply with the authority.
“The court has asked PTA to block access to TikTok,” confirmed spokesman Khurram Mehran to Reuters.
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This would make the second time in less than six months that the popular and fast-rising social media platform will be banned in the country for questionable contents.
The Islamic nation had banned the app on October, 9 2020 but reversed their decision ten days later on October, 19 2020 after Tiktok vowed to block all accounts involved in spreading “obscenity and immorality.”
As at 2019, Pakistan were the country with the largest database of TikTok users in the world at 11.3 million users.
Last month, February 2021, Android users downloaded the TikTok app 760,430 times, the fifth most in the world. As at the same period 33 million users of the service were from Pakistan, a considerable rise from 2019’s figure.
In a statement covered by Aljazeera, TikTok reiterated and outlined the procedures taken to regulate contents on the platforms,
“TikTok is built upon the foundation of creative expression, with strong safeguards in place to keep inappropriate content off the platform,” the company said.
“In Pakistan we have grown our local-language moderation team, and have mechanisms to report and remove content in violation of our community guidelines. We look forward to continuing to serve the millions of TikTok users and creators in Pakistan who have found a home for creativity and fun.”
The country follows the route plied by India who were the world’s foremost users of the app, with a distribution of 43 percent before the ban in June 2020.
Aside explicit contents, the Chinese-owned software has been the cynosure of bad press and traducing controversies due to its link with the Chinese empire who have been accused of espionage, privacy concerns and security fears in recent months. These were reasons cited by India for the ban.
However, Pakistan has been criticised by other nations and software companies for their restrictive laws that have limited the freedom and human rights of their citizens.
The country’s Internet use is heavily regulated by the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) who have the carte blanch to block content on a variety of reasons including for being against “the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defence of Pakistan or … public order, decency or morality”.
US-based Freedom House’s 2020 Freedom of the Net index scored the country 26 out of 100, citing “The online environment in Pakistan [as] tightly controlled by the government.”
Facebook, Google Twitter, Apple, Amazon, LinkedIn, SAP, Expedia Group, Yahoo, Airbnb, Grab, Rakuten, Booking.com, Line and Cloud flare expressed their concerns on the working environment and ambience of the country in November through a group called the Asia Internet Coalition (AIC), unanimously saying that they were “alarmed” by the scope of Pakistan’s new law targeting internet firms.”
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