Pakistan has blocked several dating apps, including Tinder and Grindr, in a bid to restrict "immoral" and "indecent" content, authorities said on Monday.
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.
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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.
see/aw (Reuters, AFP)