Pakistan’s media regulating authority on Friday again lifted a ban on shot videos app TikTok, this time after four months, following assurances from the popular Chinese video-sharing service that it would control the spread of indecent content. It was the fourth time in the past 15 months that Pakistan Telecommunication Authority imposed and lifted such a ban.
Pakistan first blocked TikTok, which is very popular among Pakistani teens and young adults, in October 2020 over what it described as widespread complaints about allegedly “immoral, obscene and vulgar” content on the app. The regulatory agency said in a statement on Twitter that TikTok had assured Pakistan it would also block users who upload “unlawful content.” The app, owned by China’s ByteDance, has been downloaded almost 39 million times in Pakistan.
Pakistan, which has close relations with China, has been urging TikTok to develop an effective mechanism to control unlawful content. Over the years, Pakistan has also forwarded hundreds of complaints to Facebook and Twitter about content, alleging it is offensive and potentially insulting to Islam, which goes against Pakistani law.
In 2008, Pakistan banned YouTube over videos depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Muslims generally believe any physical depiction of Islam’s prophet is blasphemous.