TikTok banned in Pakistan for 'indecent' content

TikTok, owned by China-based ByteDance, has been caught in a firestorm globally due to security and privacy concerns [File: Lionel Bonacenture/AFP]

Pakistan has prohibited Chinese social media app TikTok from filtering out "immoral and indecent" content, the country's telecommunications authority said.

The decision was taken following a number of complaints from different segments of society, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) said in a statement on Friday.

"In view of the complaints and the nature of the content being consistently posted on TikTok, PTA issued a final notice to the application," said the statement.

It gave the PTA wide powers to block the content considered to be "against the glory of Islam or the integrity , security or defense of Pakistan or ... public order, decency or morality."

Rights groups said that PTA has blocked access to more than 800,000 websites and platforms across the country.

The list of blocked websites includes pornographic platforms but also includes news outlets considered critical of the country's security and foreign policy, social media, and websites of some political parties.

"However, the application failed to comply fully with the instructions. As a result, instructions for blocking TikTok's application in the country were issued.

The PTA stated that TikTok has been informed that the regulator is open to engagement and will review its decision subject to a satisfactory TikTok mechanism to moderate illegal content.

In July, the regulator issued a "final warning" to the short-form video app for explicit content on the platform.

TikTok, owned by China-based ByteDance, has been caught in a global fire-storm due to security and privacy concerns. It has already been blocked in India and faces scrutiny in countries from Australia to the United States.

TikTok was not immediately available for comment on the matter.

The decision was taken after Prime Minister Imran Khan took a keen interest in the matter, a government official told the Reuters News Agency, adding that Khan had directed the telecommunications authorities to make every effort to block content deemed vulgar in the conservative country.

The move comes months after Bigo Live's live streaming app was banned for the same reason, and YouTube's video-sharing platform was warned to block "vulgarity and hate speech."

In 2016, the Pakistan Parliament passed the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) to regulate, among other things, content on the Internet.



Publish : 2020-10-09 22:01:50

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