From Player Unknown’s Battleground (PUBG) to TikTok, Youtube and now 5 dating apps, Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) is continuing with a censorship rampage—a seemingly standard practice now. Such moral policing highlights the lack of oversight over internet usage and makes it unclear why one body can arbitrarily determine what is right and what is not.

Weeks before announcing a ban, PTA issued warnings to various applications for endorsing immoral content. However, what constitutes immoral is yet to be clarified since the organisation has moved against an array of diverse content–violent video games, anti-Islamic opinions, dating apps and the like. As such, the status quo is dominated by one body which is looking to impose its perception of what is right upon the larger public. For a place as free as the internet to become severely restricted, even in terms of the provision of entertainment, demands for higher authorities to step in and scrutinise future policies. Otherwise, we allow for a restrictive society to be nurtured.

Additionally, this ban tactic is one that has been used one too many times in an effort to get digital companies to engage with authorities. The solution to inaction in response to certain warnings, however justified they may be, should not be complete elimination but encourage urgency in the matter. Similarly, incentivising companies to adhere to policies through highlighting strategic advantages that come with compliance could also be another, less intimidating, way through which the same objective can be achieved.

Unarguably, free societies aren’t those that are marred by complete eradication of views, practises and opinions. Not only does it prove to be detrimental on an individualistic level, but also threatens the economic profitability of the country. To allow for such a slippery slope to exist, through which more constricting policies can be passed, would leave us in a highly disadvantaged position in the future.