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Pakistan unblocks Chinese video-sharing app TikTok

Published October 19,2020

Pakistan on Monday announced it was unblocking Chinese social media app TikTok after receiving assurances that it would "moderate" content in accordance with local laws.

"TikTok is being unlocked after assurance from management that they will block all accounts repeatedly involved in spreading obscenity and immorality," the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) announced in statement.

"TikTok will moderate the accounts in accordance with local laws," the statement said.

Earlier this month, the PTA said it blocked the popular Chinese app after receiving complaints of vulgarity from different segments of society.

The move came months after live-streaming app Bigo Live was banned for the same reason and video-sharing platform YouTube was warned to block "vulgarity and hate speech."

Dating app Tinder has also been blocked in recent months by authorities in the conservative Islamic Republic.

These moves were seen by activists as an attempt to muzzle online criticism of the country's powerful military.

YouTube introduced a localized version in Pakistan after a ban that lasted for several months in 2012 following protests against a movie deemed insulting to the Muslim prophet Mohammed.

Censorship levels have increased since the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan took office after elections in 2018 tainted by allegations of army interference.