PTA removes ban on TikTok, management assures cooperation

Management will moderate all TikTok accounts in accordance with local laws

News Desk October 19, 2020

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Monday removed the ban on video-sharing app TikTok , after assurances from platform's management that they will block all accounts involved in spreading 'obscenity and immorality'.

The management will moderate all TikTok accounts in accordance with local laws, PTA confirmed.

Responding to the unblocking of the app TikTok said:

"We're pleased to see that the TikTok app has been unblocked in Pakistan. We appreciate the PTA's commitment to ongoing productive dialogue and recognize their care for the digital experience of Pakistani users."

"At TikTok, we're committed to enforcing our Community Guidelines and complying with local laws in all markets in which we operate, as these are pillars of our work to promote a safe and positive community online. The creativity and passion of this community has brought joy to households across Pakistan and opened vital economic opportunities to incredibly talented creators, and we're excited to be able to continue enabling Pakistani voices and creativity as we work to support the success story of Pakistan."

Earlier, TikTok regretted that its services remain suspended in Pakistan more than a week after the Pakistani regulator blocked it over “indecent content”.

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“TikTok’s mission is to inspire creativity and joy, and that's just what we've done in Pakistan. We've built a community whose creativity and passion has brought joy to households across Pakistan and opened vital economic opportunities to incredibly talented creators,” ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok, said in a statement.

“After TikTok was blocked in Pakistan, we continued to engage with the PTA to demonstrate our commitment to comply with local laws and further enhance our content moderation capacity,” ByteDance further said.

“If the government of Pakistan decides to reopen access to our services in the future, we can assess our allocation of resources to this market,” the company said.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Saturday had also issued a three-page written order on an application seeking an immediate suspension of PTA's decision to ban TikTok.

The court summoned a senior officer from the PTA to appear before the court and explain why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against PTA officials for not complying with the court's earlier order, directing PTA to frame rules for exercising its powers under PECA 2016.

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"Has PTA framed rules under Article 37 of PECA 2016?" the court inquired.

"The rules have not been outlined yet. The court has given 90 days to the PTA," the counsel of the petitioner said.

"The PTA violated two court decisions by banning Tik Tok," Advocate Usama Khawar, counsel for the petitioner said.

Earlier, PTA had banned Players Unidentified Battleground (PUBG) which was declared null and void by the same court. The court ordered PTA not to engage in such illegal activities.

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