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Pakistan bans Chinese app TikTok for the fourth time over obscene and ‘immoral’ content

The Chinese app was first banned in the country in October 2020 over complaints regarding 'indecent and 'immoral' content. Ten days after the company assured the telecom regulator it would block accounts "spreading obscenity", the ban was lifted.

After blocking access to the Chinese video-sharing app TikTok three times, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has once again issued a ban on the platform. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Wednesday released the order, “In light of relevant provisions of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016, PTA has blocked access to TikTok app and website in the country.”

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

This is the fourth time in the past ten months that the Pakistani government enforced a ban on the platform but almost instantly lifted it every time on getting assurance from the company. 

The latest news of suspension was met with criticism and sarcasm from the netizens. One user advised the app to have Pakistan-specific rules for the app and punish the ones who did not follow.

While another netizen asked the government to make up its mind.

History of suspensions

The Chinese app was first banned in the country in October 2020 over complaints regarding ‘indecent and ‘immoral’ content. Ten days after the company assured the telecom regulator it would block accounts “spreading obscenity”, the ban was lifted.

Subsequently, the Peshawar High Court had also imposed a ban on the video-entertainment platform in March this year which was lifted in April.

The last ban was imposed in June by the Sindh High Court which had ordered the PTA to suspend access to TikTok in the country for “spreading immorality and obscenity”. 

The order was in response to a petition filed by a resident of Punjab province, who alleged that the app was promoting crime with people uploading video brandishing weapons and promoting drugs. This ban too lasted for a mere three days. 

It will be interesting to note how long will this suspension last.

6 mn videos removed out of which 15% showcased adult nudity and sexual activities

As per reports, the platform had removed over 6 million videos in the first quarter of 2021. “In the Pakistani market, TikTok removed 6,495,992 videos making it the second market to get the most videos removed after the USA, where 8,540,088 videos were removed,” a company report read.

Around 15 per cent of the removed videos were “adult nudity and sexual activities”, revealed the report. 

In an interview to Business Insider, a spokesperson for ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company said, “committed to further strengthening our safeguards to ensure the safety of our users, while increasing our dialogue with the authorities to explain our policies and demonstrate our dedication to user security.”

TikTok enjoys both popularity with 39 million downloads and widespread condemnation in Pakistan. 

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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