SHC orders PTA to unblock TikTok

Regulator assures court it will take a decision on a complaint against the site by June 5

Our Correspondent July 02, 2021


The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday ordered the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to unblock the popular video-sharing site TikTok after the internet and telecommunication regulator assured the court that it will take a decision on the complaint of a petitioner by July 5.

The SHC single-judge bench comprising Justice Kauser Sultana took this decision while hearing the PTA’s civil miscellaneous application in which it requested the court to set aside its June 28 order. The bench will resume hearing of the case also on June 5.

The SHC on June 28 ordered the PTA to block TikTok till July 8 over "immoral content" and for celebrating "LGBTQ-Pride Month". This was the third ban imposed on the social media site within the last two years.

A SHC bench had issued the order while hearing a “suit of declaration and injunctions” in which the petitioner had nominated the federal government, the PTA and TikTok as respondents.

Earlier on March 11, the Peshawar High Court (PHC) also ordered the PTA to ban TikTok over "immoral content". The PHC, however, lifted the ban on April 1 after the PTA told the court that it had raised the issue again with the TikTok’s administration.

The PHC had directed the PTA to ensure that viewers from Pakistan do not access unethical and objectionable material in view the provisions of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016.

Read: SHC imposes ban on TikTok till July 8

Commenting on the previous court orders, the SHC on June 28 noted that the PHC had lifted the ban in view of submissions by the representative of the defendant No 2, that is the PTA, but TikTok paid no heed to the constant undertakings and assurances given by them and the PTA before various courts.

“[TikTok is not] respecting the law and the basic injunctions of Islam as well as the culture of Pakistan, has recently started a social media campaign whereby they are celebrating 'LGBT-Pride Month'.

"Let [a] notice be issued to the defendants as well a DAG [Deputy Attorney General] Pakistan for 08.07.2021 and till then the defendant No 2 [PTA] is hereby directed to suspend the operations of and/or access to the TikTok application in Pakistan," the order added.

Separately, various petitioners on June 28 also moved the Supreme Court of Pakistan to impose a ban on TikTok in view of the alleged rise in crimes and use of drugs due to the use of the app.

The petitioners belonging to the city of Lahore claimed that TikTok is also damaging the culture of education institutions and is also a cause of suicide in some users.

Meanwhile, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Friday expressed his jubilation over lifting of ban on the popular video sharing platform 'TikTok' by the SHC.

In a tweet, he said technology war was being fought in the world right now as companies were propagating against each other. The regulatory bodies and judiciary should stay away from such fights and the investors in Pakistan should be welcomed.

(With additional input from APP)


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