KARACHI: It was only two days ago that Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) announced a ban against Bigo LIVE and a final warning to TikTok for generating inappropriate content. Earlier today, Supreme Court of Pakistan hinted towards banning YouTube in the country on account of ‘objectionable’ content.
The topic was brought up during the hearing of a man accused of committing a sectarian crime. Dawn reports that while Justice Qazi Amin is not against the public’s freedom of expression and that the public holds the right to comment on the judiciary’s performance, he also claimed that social media often blurs the lines between public and private lives. He acknowledged that their salaries come from the public’s pockets but the Constitution also gives them the right to private lives.
Justice Qazi Amin also questioned whether PTA and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) are aware of the content available on YouTube, specially instances where judges and their families are mocked on social media. He also remarked that YouTube and other social media apps are also banned in other countries in order to monitor content.
If the court goes ahead with the decision, this will not be the first time that YouTube gets shut down in Pakistan. In 2008, PTA blocked the website after ‘anti-Islamic’ videos were shared on it. In 2010 as well, the social networking website was banned in Pakistan after drawings of the Holy Prophet were posted.
The news is trending on Twitter.
The reason behind the ban may be a different one this time but the anxiety and disappointment that local viewers face remains the same. During a time when many professional and amateur artists are using social media to promote their work, local authorities banning multiple applications will only limit their options in an already difficult time.