Pakistan Bans Wikipedia on Refusal to Remove Alleged Blasphemous Content

Islamabad: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has blocked Wikipedia due to the website’s refusal to remove allegedly objectionable or blasphemous content. Earlier, the telecom regulator had downgraded the portal’s services in the country, The News reported on Saturday. When the PTA spokesperson was contacted late Friday night and inquired about the blocking of Wikipedia, the official confirmed that “yes” it had been blocked. The News reported that on the directions of the High Court, the PTA blocked and slowed down the Encyclopaedia-website for 48 hours because of blasphemous material on it. A PTA spokesperson said that Wikipedia was contacted to block or remove the said content by issuing notices in accordance with applicable law and court order(s).

was also given an opportunity of being heard; However, the platform neither complied with the removal of the blasphemous content nor appeared before the authority.

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As reported by The News, Wikipedia’s services were downgraded for 48 hours in view of the platform’s willful failure to comply with the PTA’s directive to block/remove the reported content Was.

In the event of non-compliance by Wikipedia, the platform has been blocked within Pakistan. Restoration of Wikipedia’s services will be reconsidered if the reported illegal content is blocked/removed.

Commenting on the development, digital rights activist Usma Khilji criticized the authorities for blocking the information portal.

“Wikipedia, the world’s largest encyclopedia, appears to be blocked in Pakistan by @PTAofficialpk.”

The director of Bolobhi said that the courts and regulator should realize that Wikipedia is a crowd-sourced platform where anyone can edit articles, which they can do instead of blocking the entire website, The News told.