PTA Agrees to Remove Ban on TikTok

On Monday, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) announced that they removed the ban on the popular video-sharing app, TikTok. They were assured by the management of the platform that they will be proactive in blocking any and all accounts that promote or are involved in spreading ‘immorality’ and ‘obscenity’. 

PTA confirmed that the management will monitor all TikTok accounts and moderate them according to the local laws. 

TikTok also released a statement soon after the ban was lifted. They stated that they are pleased to know that the country has decided to unblock the app. They also praised the commitment of the PTA to ongoing productive dialogue. The video-sharing app also appreciated the country’s efforts for ensuring that Pakistani users are not deprived of the app’s digital experience. 

The management went on to add that they are committed to enforcing their community guidelines and making sure that they are in accordance with local laws in every country they operate in. According to them, their aim is to promote a positive and safe community online. 

TikTok added that it is the passion and creativity possessed by the talented individuals in the community, which bring joy to various households all over the country. They informed that their operations in Pakistan have become a gateway to important economic opportunities for various creators. The spokesperson for the video-sharing app also stated that they will continue to give a platform to Pakistani creativity and voices. 

Earlier, the management had been regretful that PTA had banned their services in the country, attributing the suspension to ‘indecent content’.

ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok, said in a statement that they had continued to engage with PTA soon after their content was flagged as inappropriate. They informed that they had demonstrated their commitment towards complying with local laws and enhance their content moderation capacity. 

The company also said that on the condition that the government decides to grant access to TikTok to continue operating in the country, they will reallocate their resources to the Pakistani market accordingly. 

On Saturday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) also issued a written order, which was three pages long. It was an application seeking a suspension of the decision of the PTA to ban TikTok in the country. 

A senior officer from PTA was also summoned by the court to explain why the court should not move to conduct contempt proceedings against PTA officials. The judge made it clear that the court was unhappy with PTA’s noncompliance with the earlier order, which directed them towards framing rules with respect to PECA 2016. 

The counsel of the petitioner, Advocate Usama Khawar, argued that the court had given PTA a time period of 90 days to outline the rules as per Article 37 of PECA 2016. He went on to add that this was the second court order violated by the telecommunications authority. 

Earlier, PTA had moved to ban Players Unidentified Battleground (PUBG). However, the same court declared this decision void and null. PTA was strictly warned by the court to ensure that they were not involved in any illegal activities in the future.