The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has blocked five dating and live streaming applications including the popular Tinder app citing “immoral content”, it said in a statement on Tuesday.
The four other apps blocked by the authority are Tagged, Skout, Grindr and SayHi.
PTA banned Tinder
The PTA said “keeping in view the negative effects of immoral/indecent content streaming through the above applications”, it had issued notices to the five platforms’ management, asking them to remove “dating services” and moderate live streaming content “in accordance with the local laws of Pakistan”.
“Since the platforms did not respond to the notices within the stipulated time, therefore, the authority issued orders for blocking of the said applications,” the press release stated.
It added, however, that the PTA can “reconsider blocking” of the said applications provided their company managements assure adherence to local laws “with respect to moderating the indecent/immoral content through meaningful engagement”.
The decision comes less than two months after the PTA banned live streaming application Bigo and issued a “final warning” to video-sharing service TikTok over obscene and immoral content on the platforms.
Press Release: PTA has blocked access to five dating/live streaming applications i.e. Tinder, Tagged, Skout, Grindr and SayHi. pic.twitter.com/gFJxsgcn6m
— PTA (@PTAofficialpk) September 1, 2020
The authority had also banned online game PlayerUnknown’s Battle Ground (PUBG) on June 1 before PTA banned Tinder citing several complaints about it being “addictive”, a waste of time and its potential negative impact on children’s physical and psychological health.
The ban was subsequently lifted in July after the PTA was given assurances by the legal representatives of the game maker.
The PTA has been exceptionally active recently nearly banning PUBG the mobile gaming app. The decision to ban PUBG was taken back and the organisation has left room for these dating apps to be unbanned also. PTA said that if the developers comply with local laws the sites may be unbanned.
In a statement, the authority said that it had met with the legal representatives of the game. “[The] representatives briefed the authority on the response to queries raised by PTA with respect to controls put in place to prevent misuse of the gaming platform.”
The statement added that the representatives welcomed PTA’s feedback on the issue and assured that their concerns would be taken into account, urging the telecommunication authority to lift its ban.”Keeping in view the positive engagement and response of the company, PTA has decided to unban PUBG,” it added.Reacting to the news, Minster for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said that the decision to end the ban on the online game was a “sane approach”.
“[A] ban is an extreme measure, must be very careful in [the] future,” he said, adding that the science ministry was of the opinion that Pakistan must work closely with tech companies to resolve issues.
PTA had banned the online game on June 1, citing several complaints about it being “addictive”, a waste of time and its potential negative impact on children’s physical and psychological health.
Last week, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had declared PTA’s move void and directed the authority to immediately lift the ban. The decision was announced in a short order issued by Justice Amir Farooq.
However, the PTA had refused to review its decision and had issued a detailed explanation. The authority said it had come across various studies, papers and reports regarding the impact of internet games, specifically PUBG, on the mental as well as physical health of the players. Besides violence and addiction, the authority said PUBG made people less productive.
GVS News Desk