The Awaam of Pakistan is taken aback after the Supreme Court of Pakistan hinted towards banning YouTube in the country, according to local Pakistan media reports.
The top court hinted towards this decision after hearing a case of man, Shaukat Ali, involved in sectarian crime. The bench comprising of Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin and Justice Mushir Alam objected to unregulated social media content mainly targetting the judiciary, government and the armed forces.
Social media users targetting judiciary, government & armed forces: Pak SC
According to The Express Tribune, Justice Qazi Amin stated, "We have no objection to freedom of expression," remarked Justice Amin. During the hearing, he said, "We are not against freedom of expression and masses have right to discuss our performance and decisions as we take salaries from public money but the constitution also provides us right of personal life but users of social media and YouTube are targeting our families", he said.
Justice Amin also raised the discussion questioning whether Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had taken notice of such happenings on the platform where judges are mocked at. He further was reported saying that the citizens in the US or even the European Union would never dare to post against their nation.
A Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) official told the court that the PTA cannot remove objectionable content and only can report it.
According to reports, PTA has issued notice to the public to refrain up uploading obscene content. Gulf News reported, "PTA in a public notice also asked the citizens to avoid uploading and sharing content on social media, Internet and messaging apps which is immoral and indecent, glorification of an offence, sacrilegious, hate speech, fake news/defamation, child pornography, and any other offence under Section 37 of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) 2016 as it "is an offence and punishable act under the law".
'Is this is even digital Pakistan': Possible ban sparks debate
After the top court hinted towards banning of the video platform, the possible decision didn't go down well with the Awaam. The netizens took to social media and called it a threat to the digital economy of the nation and Youtube is the reason they earn and learn amid the lockdown.
International Business Times, India, reached out to a few netizens of Pakistan who oppose this possible ban. Iqrah, a student, said, "I believe they should put age restrictions rather than banning YouTube. As it is a huge source of information in Pakistan. She further added, "Banning certain platforms wouldn't help them achieve their goals."
Enraged by this decision, celebrities including Mehwish Hayat, Osman Khalid Butt, Zara Noor Abbas and Ahmed Ali Butt took to their social media accounts speak their minds
Other digital bans in Pakistan
Earlier, PTA placed a temporary ban on PUBG following the reports of an increase in addiction and suicide rates in the country. Post the PUBG ban, Pakistan also blocked Bigo live streaming app for vulgar content and issues a warning over TikTok.
Previously, Pakistan banned access to YouTube in September 2012 after an anti-Islam film, "Innocence of Muslims", was uploaded to the site, sparking violent protests across major cities in the Muslim-majority country of 190 million people
After which they removed a three-year ban on YouTube after the Google-owned video-sharing website launched a local version that allows the government to demand the removal of material it considers offensive.