TikTok ban violates basic rights: IHC

CJ says hate speech, pornography issues must be dealt with professionally

Saqib Bashir October 25, 2021


The Islamabad High Court (IHC) says that the ban on TikTok appears to be a violation of the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution, and orders the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to satisfy the court about justification of the ban.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard a petition against the ban on TikTok on Monday. Additional Attorney General Qasim Wadood, PTA lawyer Munawar Iqbal Dogal and the relevant PTA officials were present in the court during the hearing.

The chief justice asked the PTA whether the social media experts were consulted before imposing the ban. He asked the regulator to submit a list of such exports.

The court said that poor people were earning through TikTok. The court posed a question that objectionable contents existed on every social media platform so would every app be blocked? It added that the PTA was discouraging the talent. “Do we have to be cut off from the rest of the world?”

Read Iqbal Park case: TikToker ‘discussed blackmailing arrested mobsters’

The chief justice noted that hate speech was not just restricted to TikTok, adding that there was hate speech and pornography, but these issues must be handled professionally. He said that there were values in society so, “if something is not right then don’t look”.

The chief justice remarked that those were the challenges of advanced technology and those should be dealt with as such. He added that blocking a platform in general was a violation of the rights enshrined in the Constitution.

The court ordered the PTA to provide it with a list of social media experts and satisfy the court on the next hearing that the ban on TikTok was justified. Further hearing of the case was adjourned till November 22.


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