IHC Observes Prohibiting TikTok Is A Breach Of Constitutional Rights

TikTok Had Become A Source Of Income For Thousands Of People In The Country And Such Action Opposed The Constitutional Rights

The Islamabad High Court (IHC), Monday, observed that banning the video-sharing platform TikTok is a violation of the rights enshrined in the Constitution. A single bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah observed this, while hearing a petition moved against the banning of TikTok. During the hearing, the IHC chief justice remarked that the platform was a source of income for thousands of lower-income people. He added that by taking the decision of banning the platform, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is also discouraging talent. The court remarked that TikTok had become a source of income for thousands of people in the country and such action opposed the constitutional rights of its users. It further said that hate speech or vulgar content, which were the main reason for banning the TikTok, are found everywhere on the internet and not just the app. The IHC bench continued that if banning was the only way to control the problem then it must be implemented on all applications. It asked the PTA that should we shut down every social media platform, since objectionable content is present on almost each and every one of them? Justice Minallah said that this matter should be handled in a professional manner.

He further said that a society’s values should be strong enough for people to not watch something wrong. He remarked that these are the challenges of advanced technology. He asked; “Do we want to be cut off from the rest of the world?” He also said what could be more surprising than that the PTA does not even know about the social media experts in the country? The bench said that as per the PTA’s affidavits submitted with the Peshawar and Sindh high courts, only one per cent of the content on TikTok was objectionable. The PTA filed the report but there was no response to the court’s directive, the high court added. The court questioned whether a single social media expert was consulted before the decision to block the video-sharing app. The bench directed the federal government and the PTA to submit names of social media experts and satisfy the court on the next hearing. Later, the court deferred the hearing till November 22nd.

In this matter, Muhammad Ashfaq Jutt senior vice-president of Pakistan Kickboxing Federation filed the petition through his counsel Mariam Farid Khawaja advocate. The petitioner filed the writ petition under Article-199 of the Constitution of Pakistan and cited Secretary Cabinet Division, Secretary Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication, and the PTA Chairman as respondents. The petitioner contended that the ban on TikTok was ultra vires the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016, the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organization) Act, 1996, the fundamental rights as enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan, and the doctrine of Legitimate Expectation under the Law.

This news was originally published at Bre-Corder

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