PTA conditionally unblocks TikTok in Pakistan

TikTok Pakistan

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA for short) has decided to unblock TikTok, ten days after banning the app and its services.

PTA, on Monday, officially announced that it will unblock the video-sharing app in Pakistan on the condition if the company assures that it will “block all accounts repeatedly involved in spreading obscenity and immorality.”

The internet watchdog in the country announced it through its Twitter handle today. The authority added that the management will moderate accounts according to local laws within the country.

It’s worth noting there that TikTok seems to have hired a local agency for handling public communications matters as well as to manage crucial events. The company had already announced through a press release last weekend confirming to allocate dedicated resources to moderate accounts in Pakistan. Thes resources were meant to monitor accounts according to local laws in the country, exactly what PTA seemed to be looking for.

PTA, on October 9, put a ban to the popular video-sharing app, TikTok, over “immoral and indecent” content. The authority said that it had given the company a considerable time to respond and comply with the instructions about moderating unlawful video content. Finally, for the application being failed to “fully comply” with the instructions, the authority put an end to the video-sharing app.

UPDATE: PTA has issued a formal press release for conditionally restoring TikTok Services. The complete press release is attached below.

Press Release

Islamabad (October 19, 2020) Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) has restored TikTok services with certain conditions.

In view of the presence of vulgar, indecent/immoral content on the platform and its negative effects on the society, PTA has been continuously asserting TikTok to prevent its platform from disseminating the unlawful content. However, TikTok couldn’t satisfy the for taking concrete steps for blocking and removal of unlawful content. Hence, the TikTok application was blocked until a satisfactory content monitoring mechanism is put in place.

As a result of continuous engagement with the platform’s senior management before and after imposition of the ban, TikTok has assured moderating content in accordance with societal norms and the laws of Pakistan and ensured that the users who are continuously involved in uploading unlawful content are blocked from the platform.

PTA, as a facilitator to the users’ healthy digital experience on the internet and growth of digital companies, has therefore, decided to lift the ban. However, the restoration of TikTok services is strictly subject to the condition that the platform will not be used for the spread of vulgarity / indecent content and that the societal values will not be abused. PTA will be constrained to permanently block the application, in case the said condition is not fulfilled.

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