The TikTok logo is pictured outside the company's U.S. head office in Culver City, California, U.S., September 15, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) Chairman Amir Azeem Bajwa has said the regulator was ready to lift the ban on TikTok app, provided that it removed obscene videos and close down the accounts of children.

Addressing media at a hotel in the federal capital on Monday, Bajwa said that the PTA was not banning the social media but emphasised that those companies would have to comply with the laws of Pakistan.

Extending a conditional offer to lift the ban on TikTok, he asked the platform to close the accounts of children and those who uploaded obscene videos and give assurances that it would not happen again.

TikTok has been blocked four times in the past due to obnoxious videos, but “we are not happy to close anyone,” he said.

“The TikTok administration should delete the accounts of children and those who repeatedly upload pornographic videos,” he added.

He admitted that TikTok could not block anyone’s video but added: “We say that remove them [objectionable contents] within reasonable time after the uploading and block the repeated uploaders.”

Bajwa also stressed the need for checking the procedure TikTok had adopted for children. He warned that the agencies concerned had been asked to catch those who shared immoral videos on the social media, “whether he is a TikToker or any ordinary citizen”.

He said that the PTA had taken notice of hidden charges imposed by the mobile companies on various packages. “We have clear and written instructions that no value-added services can be applied without user’s permission,” he added.

The PTA chairman also said that after the new rules, social media companies would not have to leave Pakistan. However, he stressed that the companies would have to follow the “ethics of Pakistani society”.

In June, the app announced that more than six million videos were removed from TikTok in three months.

“In the Pakistani market, TikTok removed 6,495,992 videos making it the second market to get the most videos removed after the USA, where 8,540,088 videos were removed,” TikTok Pakistan’s latest transparency report said, covering January to March 2021.

The Chinese-owned app is wildly popular among Pakistani youth.

He said that consumers or investors should contact the PTA immediately if they have any complaints.

Bajwa pointed out the recent auction of unused spectrum and said that Ufone offered $27.9 million.

PTA Director General Commercial Affairs Dr Arif Sargana said that investment in telecom sector was increasing every year.

“Last year, more than $1 billion was invested by telecom operators. The number of cellular mobile phone users in the country has reached 185 million. Last year, the teledensity in the country was 87.5 percent and the number of broadband subscribers was 10.44 million with 47.68 percent broadband penetration.

The story was filed by the News Desk.
The Desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk.

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