A mixed martial artist is fighting a Pakistani ban on TikTok, the short-video sharing app on which he was pinning his hopes on helping people become healthy and get into shape.
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) last week blocked access to TikTok, which is possessed by China-based ByteDance, citing unspecified public complaints regarding “immoral and indecent content”.
Muhammad Ashfaq Jutt, 34, told journalists at our partner news agency Reuters he joined TikTok a year ago because it was becoming a popular platform and was more economical than traditional advertising.
“All kinds of people, from street sweepers to day labourers, have come to be world-famous using TikTok so I thought this was a good way to be known as well,” Jutt said.
Jutt’s petition, that he lodged on Wednesday and has been seen by journalists, calls for recommendations on precisely how content is announced objectionable and his attorney Usama Khawar said he’s hopeful the High Court at Islamabad will overthrow the ban.
TikTok was downloaded more than 43 million occasions at Pakistan, analytics company Sensor Tower said, while the PTA stated it’s the third most popular social media app after Facebook and WhatsApp, using more than 20 million active accounts.
Although he only has 209 followers up to now, Jutt expected to use TikTok to reach normal Pakistanis, joining a growing community of influencers in the country, some with tens of thousands of followers.
Jutt, who has been practicing mixed martial arts for 26 years, is the Senior Vice President of the Pakistan Kickboxing Federation, also states he has won several international names.
He runs three kickboxing centres in the eastern city of Lahore, including one teaching women self-defence, and his own personal training clients include soldiers, police officers, and police officers.
His short lived TikTok account featured clips of him doing jumping jacks and push-ups, and sparring with pupils.
“I thought this was a good way for me to help Pakistan, to help people get into shape,” Jutt said, adding, “It was going well but then the government decided to ban TikTok.”
Critics say the government’s movement against platforms like TikTok is not just against freedom of expression, but has also hurt financially.
PTA, that in September blocked five apps including Tinder and Grindr for disseminating “immoral content”, said it had met with TikTok’s senior management to discuss efforts to “improve content moderation”.
In addition, it blocked the favourite PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds match but reversed the ban following the Islamabad High Court struck out it. The same court is currently hearing Jutt’s petition challenging the TikTok ban, which is scheduled for next week.
The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed the ‘MMA athlete throws down a challenge to Pakistan’s TikTok ban‘ article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Umar Farooq. Editing by Alexander Smith.
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