TikTok Ban Violation Of Constitutional Rights: Justice Athar Minallah

TikTok Ban Violation Of Constitutional Rights: Justice Athar Minallah

Islamabad High Court (IHC) has said that video-sharing application TikTok is a source of income for thousands of people and its blockade is discouraging talent.

The court issued these remarks on Monday while hearing a petition challenging the ban imposed by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah observed that banning the video-sharing application is a violation of the rights enshrined in the Constitution. He asked the PTA if every social media platform should be shut down because objectionable content is present on almost every one of them.

The chief justice further said. “Hate speech and pornography are not just on TikTok. This matter should be handled in a professional manner. A society's values should be strong enough for people to not watch something wrong.”

Justice Minallah remarked that these are the challenges of advanced technology. "Do we want to be cut off from the rest of the world?" he further asked. “Why did you cite India's example? What other country is the app banned in except India?” the judge asked the PTA authorities.

“What could be more surprising than the PTA not even knowing who the social media experts are in the country? If banning is the only way to go then it must be implemented across all platforms,” he added.

The court further remarked that as per the PTA's affidavits submitted with the Peshawar and Sindh high courts, only one percent of the content on TikTok is objectionable. The PTA filed the report but there is no response to the court's directive, the court added.

The court observed that the attorney general had told the court that he would consult with the stakeholders. The court also asked whether a social media expert was consulted before the decision to block the video-sharing app was taken.

He said that the federal government and PTA should submit the names of social media experts to the court. Keeping all things in consideration, blocking the platform is a violation of rights enshrined in the Constitution. The PTA should satisfy the court at the next hearing, he further said.

Later, the court adjourned the hearing of the case till November 22.