Pakistan’s TikTok ban has affected countless content creators who rely on such platforms for their livelihood and to connect with their audiences. One such Pakistani TikToker, Muhammad Arshad Jutt is hitting back hard to kick down the government’s TikTok ban.
The mixed martial arts specialist is challenging the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority’s (PTA) ban on the video-sharing app. To this end, Arshad Jutt has lawyered up and filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court calling for guidelines on exactly how content is declared objectionable.
The martial artist’s lawyer Usama Khawar is hopeful that IHC will overturn the ban. Usama Khawar told Reuters how the petition prompted questions about how far will the state take online censorship.
“The judges asked rhetorically in court, if TikTok can be banned even though it has millions of videos because of a few offensive ones, why can’t the whole internet be shut down?”
Recently, PTA met with TikTok’s senior management to discuss efforts to ‘improve content moderation‘. So it is possible PTA might review its TikTok ban.
What’s This TikTok Ban About?
Last week, PTA banned the online video-sharing platform, citing ‘public complaints about immoral and indecent content’.
TikTok, owned by China-based ByteDance has also been banned in India citing data security concerns. The United States of America is also pushing for a TikTok ban on the same grounds.
Pakistani state authorities are against TikTok due to ‘moral reasons.’
While upholding the torch for morality, PTA quashed the livelihood of many TikTok influencers such as Arshad Jutt. The kick-boxer told Reuters that he;
“Joined TikTok a year ago because it was becoming a popular platform and was cheaper than traditional advertising.”
He was a fitness influencer on the platform until the ban. The 34-year-old shared how the platform had a range of creators with diverse audiences.
“All kinds of people, from street sweepers to day laborers, have come to be world-famous using TikTok so I thought this was a good way to be known as well,”
Arshad has been practicing mixed martial arts for 26 years. He is also the Senior Vice President of the Pakistan Kickboxing Federation. Not only that, he has won several international titles and runs three kickboxing centers in Lahore, including one that teaches women self-defense.
“I thought this was a good way for me to help Pakistan, to help people get into shape,… It was going well but then the government decided to ban TikTok.”
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