Court ruling reveals that PTA director-general had advised that ‘only solution’ was to either ban or shut down the app
The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Tuesday issued its detailed judgment against video-sharing app TikTok, claiming it was akin to an “addiction” for Pakistan’s youth.
Last week, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) ‘temporarily’ banned the app for two weeks after the PHC ordered that it not be accessible until appropriate measures had been implemented to censor its content in the country. Issued by PHC Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan, the order stated that content on TikTok was “not acceptable for Pakistani society.”
In the detailed judgment, the court said this ban would continue until all “immoral content” could be filtered from view in Pakistan.
“The young generation is using TikTok as an addiction. Many videos on TikTok are obscene, immoral, and contrary to tradition,” read the judgment, adding that there was no formal review process for uploaded videos. Instead, it said, the platform merely imposes “penalties, including removing videos and banning accounts when there are violations.” It also observed that some teenagers had reportedly committed suicide after being “inspired” by TikTok. It noted that the application had already been banned by some Muslim countries and certain other countries as well.
According to the judgement, the PTA director-general had informed it during proceedings that TikTok is based in Singapore and does not have any local offices in Pakistan. “It is not in our power to censor, filter, or remove videos from here,” he said, adding that the company had not responded favorably to repeated attempts to contact it. “The only solution is to ban or shut it down,” he had advised.
The PHC has summoned a progress report on its orders from the PTA on April 6.
The judgment was delivered on a joint petition filed by 40 Peshawar residents, who had requested the court to ban TikTok in the country over violations of constitutional provisions that do not permit any acts contrary to Islamic code of life. The petitioners had claimed the videos shared on TikTok were in violation Pakistan’s Constitution, which guarantees social and moral wellbeing of citizens.