Islamabad High Court expresses annoyance over TikTok ban. And it notes that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority [PTA] should not engage in moral policing can't disconnect Pakistan with the world.

Expressing annoyance at the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority’s ( PTA ) decision to once again impose a ban on video sharing app TikTok, the Islamabad High Court has noted that the internet regulator should also impose a ban on Google, if it had objections to TikTok.

“ This is the 21st century, and peoples’ livelihoods are connected to social media apps,” Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah said while hearing a slew of petitions filed against the PTA’s July 21st decision to ban the app over its failure to remove “inappropriate content”.

Appearing before the bench, PTA's counsel Munawer Iqbal Dugal said both the Peshawar High Court [PHC] and the Sindh High Court [SHC] had earlier also ordered it to block the software over immoral content.

On March 11, the Peshawar High Court [PHC] ordered the PTA to ban TikTok over ''immoral content''. However, the court lifted the ban on April 1 after the PTA said it had raised the issue with TikTok's administration.

The Sindh High Court [SHC] on June 28 also ordered the PTA to block TikTok till July 8 for celebrating ''LGBTQ-Pride Month'' but directed the regulator on July 2 to unblock the popular video-sharing site after the PTA assured the court that it would make a decision on the complaint of the petitioner by July 5.

The PTA again imposed a ban on the app on July 21 due to its failure to remove ''inappropriate content''. This was the fourth ban imposed the social media site within the last two years.

The IHC chief justice noted that neither of the two courts had asked the PTA to completely ban TikTok and that PTA had misused the PHC and SHC orders. ''Similar videos are posted on YouTube, so will you block YouTube too?'' Justice Minallah asked.

The judge said people should be taught to avoid inappropriate videos, instead of closing entire platforms. Social media applications are a source of livelihood and entertainment, he added.

The PTA's counsel said the   PHC and  SHC had imposed a ban on the app and asked the regulator to draw a mechanism. '' When it came down to mechanisms, were mechanisms created? Why weren't other social media  apps shut down on the same basis as TikTok?'' the judge asked.

The court later directed the PTA to satisfy it regarding the ban; set up mechanisms and consult the federal government. It adjourned the hearing till August 23.

The World Students Society thanks The Express Tribune.


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