In a disappointing turn, Information Minister Shibli Faraz has conveyed that the Prime Minister wants a comprehensive strategy to check the “vulgarity” being spread in society through mainstream outlets as well as social media and its applications. Faraz quoted the premier as saying that obscenity leads to an increase in crimes like the rape of children and women, and that apps like TikTok are badly harming society’s values and should be blocked.

There is a lot to unpack here—these are definitive statements, like the insinuation that “obscenity” in apps like TikTok leads to rapes, that vulgarity is growing, and that TikTok should be banned. This statement was not said in isolation—it comes in the context of a recent rise in rape cases, as well as a social media moment where a journalist called a video of a woman exercising indecent. In that context, the Prime Minister’s supposed comments are disappointing and unbecoming.

In the wake of a national tragedy, like the motorway rape incident, the leaders of a country can either take responsibility and seek out the root causes behind why a rape culture manifests in a society, or they can take the easy way out and pin the blame on a scapegoat, without working to make the environment safer for women. Blaming “obscenity” on TikTok, which has served as a source of income for many, as the cause for rapes, is misplaced and inaccurate. There are no studies linking the two together—banning the application will not make the public space any safer for women.

The fact that this statement was made in response to a complaint about a video which merely showed a covered woman exercising shows that the definition of obscenity is misplaced. The government has the prerogative to take action against violent or pornographic content—but it should avoid giving in to extremist and baseless demands that object to any content which show a woman. The conversation on banning apps and regulation of media is an extremely serious one which can have a long-lasting impact; the Prime Minister should avoid making comments on it frivolously.