Pakistani court bans TikTok after petition was filed against its ‘immoral and indecent’ content

The Peshawar High Court has ruled in favor of a man who petitioned it to ban the video sharing app TikTok, which is popular among teenagers, on moral grounds. The court ruled that the ban should be applied starting from Thursday.

The ban was issued by the court after justices reviewed the petition and heard from government officials, including representatives of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and the attorney-general’s office. It will remain in place until TikTok takes action against objectionable content, Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan said as quoted by local media.

The petition was first reported in September 2020, after an unidentified man complained to the court about TikTok. He argued that the platform promotes “vulgar” and “pornographic” content harmful to Pakistani youth and claimed that this leads to an increase in suicide rates in the country. Government agencies failed to act against TikTok after his complaints, he reportedly told the court.

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In July, the PTA – one of the parties that the complaint to the court accused of inaction – issued a warning to TikTok, demanding that it introduce moderation of “obscenity, vulgarity, and immorality through its social media platform.” The regulator said it was the final warning for the service.

The PTA ordered a ban of TikTok in early October 2020, citing the platform’s failure to remove immoral videos, but it lasted for just 10 days and was lifted after the company promised to moderate content in accordance with Pakistani law.

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