Pakistan lifts ban on Tiktok after company agrees to censorship
Islamabad, Oct 19 (efe-epa).- Pakistan announced on Monday that it will lift the ban on TikTok, following assurances from the Chinese company that it will censor “obscene and immoral” content.
This move comes 10 days after the controversial but popular video sharing application was banned in the country through an order by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).
“TikTok is being unlocked after assurance from management that they will block all accounts repeatedly involved in spreading obscenity and immorality,” PTA said in a tweet.
PTA stated that Tiktok, developed by the Chinese company ByteDance, would moderate all contents in its application in accordance with the “local laws” of Pakistan.
The Chinese video sharing app had been banned on Oct. 9 in response to a “number of complaints from different segments of the society against immoral and indecent content” that it allegedly hosted on its platform.
Tiktok has a user base of around 14 million in the country, according to market and consumer data website Statista.
Neighboring India had already banned the popular app earlier this year after border tensions with China, while the United States administration of President Donald Trump has also sought to block it citing security reasons, although US courts have stayed the decision for now.
However, the conservative Islamic state of Pakistan – a name that literally means “land of the pure” – enjoys a close relationship with Beijing, and the ban is based on different concerns.
Islamabad had recently warned various online platforms to moderate their content and in September banned dating applications Tinder, Grindr, Tagged, Skout and SayHi.
The Pakistani authorities have used the controversial Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act, approved by the parliament in 2016, to impose the bans. Human rights groups have alleged that the law allows censorship and curtails freedom of expression in the country.
The PTA has also urged Youtube to block “vulgar, indecent and immoral” content in the country. EFE-EPA