The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) said it issued notices to the management of Tinder, Grindr, Tagged, Skout and SayHi, seeking the removal of dating services on those platforms.
Pakistan, the second-largest Muslim-majority country in the world after Indonesia, is an Islamic nation where extra-marital relationships and homosexuality are illegal.
The notices were sent “keeping in view the negative effects of immoral/indecent content streaming,” according to the PTA, but the companies did not respond within the time outlined by local laws.
Pakistan is the second-largest Muslim-majority state in the world. Extra-marital relationships and homosexuality are against the laws of the country.
Last week, the regulatory body asked YouTube to block all videos that were considered “objectionable” in the country. In the past, video app TikTok and live-streaming app Bigo Live were also reprimanded over explicit content.
However, with greater regulations imposed on digital platforms, rights groups are worried that the government is attempting to push censorship and gain control of free media.
“If adults choose to be on an app, it is not for the state to dictate whether they should use it or not,” said Shahzad Ahmad, director of Bytes For All, a Pakistani digital rights group. Calling the ban “completely ridiculous,” he said it was an attempt at “moral policing.”
Data shows that within the past 12 months, Tinder was downloaded 440,000 times, Grindr, Tagged and SayHi about 300,000 times each, and Skout 100,000 times in Pakistan.
(Made For Minds)
Tinder, a globally popular dating app, is owned by Match Group while Tagged and Skout are owned by the Meet Group.
Grindr, which describes itself as a social networking and online dating application for LGBT people, was cleared to be sold by a Chinese company this year to an investor group called San Vicente Acquisition for $620 million.
PTA said the notices issued to Tinder, Grindr, Tagged, Skout, and SayHi sought the removal of “dating services” and moderation of live streaming content in accordance with local laws.
The companies did not respond to the notices within the stipulated time, the regulator added.
Tinder, Tagged, Skout, and Grindr did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Reuters was unable to contact SayHi for comment.
In July, Pakistan issued a “final warning” to short-form video app TikTok over explicit content posted on the platform, while live-streaming app Bigo Live was blocked for 10 days for the same reason.
Pakistani authorities reiterated that concern to TikTok officials in a recent meeting.
Last week, PTA also asked the video-sharing platform YouTube to “immediately block vulgar, indecent, immoral, nude and hate speech content for viewing in Pakistan”. (DNA)
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