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Pakistan demands TikTok and YouTube block 'vulgar' content

Calls for more moderation to stop video nasties reaching local eyeballs

Pakistan has asked YouTube and TikTok to impose tighter censorship on content it deems "vulgar, indecent and immoral", including nudity and hate speech.

The request from the Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA), also "directed" YouTube to create "an effective content monitoring and moderation mechanism" to ensure that any of the above-mentioned material is blocked within the country. TikTok got away with merely being asked to do better on content monitoring, which means the "final warning" issued to the company in July 2020 appears not to have been quite so final.

"PTA has done so keeping in view the extremely negative effects of indecent/immoral/nude content available on YouTube and to prevent repugnant discord due to the presence of hate speech and sectarian material," the body said in a statement.

The request is the latest in a long line of moves by the Pakistani government to censor information published online. In February, the Pakistani government imposed a law that required social media companies to remove illegal content within 24 hours. The law gave the government power to decide which content was illegal.

YouTube in particular has been a sore point. The video-streaming site was blocked in Pakistan between 2012 and 2016 for failing to remove an anti-Islamic film.

The site was blocked again in November 2017, along with Facebook, DailyMotion, Twitter, and Instagram, in response to a protests in Faizabad that lead to violent clashes with police. ®

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