Five citizens move SCP to ban TikTok, formulate new strategy to stop vulgarity
Five citizens have filed a petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) urging a ban on the video-streaming and video-sharing platform TikTok and formulating a new strategy to stop vulgarity on the TikTok, reported 24NewsHD TV channel Monday.
Petitioners Mian Ali Zaib Bukhsh (Pakpattan), Bazil Khan, Faiz Ahmed Khan, Muhammad Waleed Bin Aamir, Rana Abu Bakar from Lahore moved the apex court against TikTok and sought response from the Federation of Pakistan through cabinet division secretary, Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA).
The petition has been moved under article 184(3) of the constitution of Pakistan 1973 to be read with prevention of electronic crimes act, 2016 s. 37(1). The petitioners filed the petition through advocate Mohammad Azhar Siddique and Sardar Balkh Sher Khosa.
Petitioners said: “Tiktok is a social media platform which has a user base of over 33 million in Pakistan. Owing to allegations of public indecency, immorality and publication of content contrary to the Islamic injunctions, it was banned in Pakistan by the Peshawar High Court, in India by the Madras High court and has been temporarily banned on a governmental level by Indonesia, Bangladesh and United States of America.”
The allegations levelled against the social media platform TikTok are legally governed by the Electronic Crimes Act 2016 and upon the direction of the Peshawar High Court the PTA director general negotiated the matter with TikTok headquarters in Singapore regarding the filtering of content which remains inconclusive till date.
Petitioners pleaded that TikTok provides an unrestricted avenue for misusing the sacred doctrine of freedom of speech and many videos that have gained widespread attention are encouraging public indecency, also inappropriate content on this platform leads to the sexualization of minors and adults.
The petition reads, “Videos that portray criminal activities can potentially incite citizens to emulate habitual criminals. These unlawful activities include overspeeding, use of narcotic drugs, display of illegal/unlicensed weapons, and unnatural lust (homosexuality). Due to 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, indecent material which has the potential to uproot the cultural, religious and societal norms of a society.”
The petition further reads, “The platform induces vulnerable people through an incentive for uploading of vulgar content by the provision of monetary benefits. Multiple instances of suicides, accidental deaths, accidental injuries, sexual predation, blackmail and corruption of morals at large due to the use of the TikTok.”
Petitioners said that the ‘immoral and 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 Pakistan and contrary to the ‘Islamic way of life’ and such digital media can ‘destroy’ the local and Islamic culture which Pakistani citizens proudly practice.
Furthermore, Honorable Courts are bound to protect the rights of citizens in accordance with Quran and Sunnah and Article 31 imposes a positive duty on the state to promote the Islamic way of life.