Tuesday May 28, 2024

SHC orders banning TikTok in Pakistan

The SHC’s ruling came during a hearing, where the court issued a notice to the attorney general of Pakistan and directed him to follow the orders and get the app banned.

By News Report & Sohail Khan
June 29, 2021

SHC orders banning TikTok in Pakistan

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday ordered to ban the video-sharing app TikTok across Pakistan, nearly three months after the country had lifted a ban imposed on it. The SHC’s order makes it the third time that the video-sharing platform has been banned in Pakistan.

The SHC’s ruling came during a hearing, where the court issued a notice to the attorney general of Pakistan and directed him to follow the orders and get the app banned. Presenting his arguments in the court, the petitioner’s lawyer said Peshawar High Court had earlier banned TikTok as some videos uploaded on the platform are "immoral and against the teachings of Islam."

The lawyer said his client had approached the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) before moving the court, however, the PTA did not do anything in this regard. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court (SC) was requested to place a ban on platforms such as TikTok due to its propagation of vulgar content which is morally outrageous and reprehensible in a society ruled by the dictates of Quran and Sunnah.

Mian Ali Zaib Bukhsh and others filed a petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, making the federation of Pakistan through the secretary Cabinet Division, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) as respondents

Drawn by Advocate Muhammad Azhar Siddique, the petitioner prayed to the apex court that the ban should be temporary in nature, until the present policy is revised and a comprehensive and effective policy is introduced that filters the content in question. The petitioner also prayed to direct the government of Pakistan to put in place a new regulatory mechanism to censor the content of the nature established above, alongside the direction for government to consider the reforms. The petitioner submitted that no law shall prevail in abrogation to Article 2 of the Constitution, i.e. the injunctions and commands of Quran and Sunnah. The petitioner submitted that TikTok is a social media platform which has a user base of over 33 million in Pakistan as per 11.03.2021, claimed by a mobile insight firm.

Owing to allegations of public indecency, immorality and publication of content contrary to Islamic injunctions, it was banned in Pakistan by the Peshawar High Court, in India by the Madras High court and has been temporarily banned by Indonesia, Bangladesh and United States of America, the petitioner submitted. He said this platform provides an unrestricted avenue for misusing the sacred doctrine of freedom of speech. It is imperative to highlight herein that many videos that have gained widespread attention are encouraging public indecency. Furthermore, inappropriate content on this platform leads to sexualization of minors and adults, the petitioner contended, adding that in addition videos that portray criminal activities can potentially incite citizens to emulate habitual criminals.

These unlawful activities include speeding, use of narcotics, display of illegal weapons and unnatural lust (homosexuality), the petitioner submitted, adding that due the widespread use of this application, university/school students have engaged in unhealthy activities and are being swayed away from the educational environment. Owing to the convenient access to the application, the public is being exposed to all sorts of unethical material which has the potential to uproot the cultural, religious and societal norms of the society. The platform induces vulnerable people through incentive for uploading of vulgar content by provision of monetary benefits, said the petitioner, adding that the obscene content available on the social media platform, TikTok, is in juxtaposition to the prescribed Islamic way of life propagated in Article 2 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan; which is the supreme law of Pakistan.

The petitioner contended that the indecent use of the TikTok app and the continued failure of the social media platform to censor such vulgar content which is openly dispersed and accessible to the public is clearly in negation of Article 19 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.