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Petition against TikTok ban: IHC issues notice to PTA

Petition against TikTok ban: IHC issues notice to PTA
October 15, 2020

ISLAMABAD (92 News) – The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday issued notices to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on a petition challenging a temporary ban on TikTok.

During the hearing of petition against TikTok ban, the IHC sent notices to the federal government, the PTA and the information technology ministry on a petition challenging a temporary ban on TikTok.

The court summoned the senior officers of the PTA and remarking that should the proceedings initiate against the PTA.

The court directed all the official respondents to furnish their comments on the petition by next hearing. It also summoned a senior officer of the PTA to appear in person. The hearing was adjourned for two weeks.

Earlier on Oct 11, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) blocked TikTok on Friday for failing to filter out 'immoral and indecent' content.

The ban comes in view of “complaints from different segments of the society against immoral and indecent content on the video sharing application,” said the PTA.

The PTA said it would review its ban, subject to a satisfactory mechanism by TikTok to moderate unlawful content. TikTok said it was “committed to following the law in markets where the app is offered.

“We have been in regular communication with the PTA and continue to work with them. We are hopeful to reach a conclusion that helps us continue to serve the country’s vibrant and creative online community,” it said.

TikTok, owned by China-based ByteDance, has become hugely popular in a short period of time, by encouraging young users to post brief videos. Its quick rise has caught it in a firestorm, with a number of countries raising security and privacy concerns over its links to China.

In June, it was blocked in India - then its largest market by users - which cited national security concerns at a time of a border dispute with China. Separately, it faces the threat of being barred in the United States, and scrutiny in other countries including Australia.

TikTok has long denied that its links to China pose a security concern in other countries.

Three Pakistani officials had told Reuters earlier on Friday that a ban on the app in Pakistan was imminent.

“We have been asking them repeatedly to put in place an effective mechanism for blocking immoral and indecent content,” one of the top officials directly involved in the decision told Reuters. “The platform, however, hasn’t been able to fully satisfy Pakistani authorities.”

The decision was taken after Prime Minister Imran Khan took a keen interest in the issue, said a second Pakistani official, adding that Khan has directed the telecoms authorities to make all efforts to block vulgar content.