The TikTok ban will remain in effect until objectionable content is removed: PTA

ByFaisal Chughtai
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The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has informed the Peshawar High Court (PHC) that the ban on TikTok would remain in place until the renowned short-video sharing platform implements an efficient system for monitoring and removing undesirable material in Pakistan.

On Wednesday, the briefing took place during a hearing of a case jointly filed by Peshawar residents seeking a total ban on TikTok owing to the platform's breach of Islamic provisions of Pakistan's 1973 Constitution. The PTA clarified in a detailed report submitted to a PHC bench comprised of Chief Justice (CJ) PHC Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Ijaz Anwar that it had advised TikTok to remove illegal content and enact a proactive mechanism for content moderation in Pakistan under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 and Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content Rules 2020.

The telecom regulator contacted TikTok earlier this year on the directives of the Sindh High Court (SHC) and the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

However, TikTok did not react to PTA's orders, resulting in the country's access to the short-video sharing site being blocked on July 20, 2021.

PTA is currently in regular communication with TikTok and is continuously monitoring the platform's actions in accordance with the telecom regulator's instructions and rules to encourage safe and responsible usage among its users in Pakistan, who are mainly young people under the age of 18.

It has requested critical information from TikTok in order to put a rational stop to the platform's recurrent prohibitions in the nation.

These steps may include a plan to manage problematic material, a method to prevent minors from establishing accounts, improving the AI system's capacity, boosting content moderation resources, and prohibiting repeat offenders from accessing the site.

PTA has also asked about TikTok's plans for appointing a Focal Person in Pakistan to enhance and improve communication between the two parties.

The PHC court adjourned the case to October 28, 2021, and ordered PTA to provide a progress report on the issue at the next hearing.

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