Pakistan Blocks Wikipedia Over Blasphemous Content
Islamabad: Pakistan has blocked Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, for its failure to remove offensive or blasphemous material, the country’s telecommunication authority said on Saturday.
The blacklisting of Wikipedia comes days after the Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) degraded Wikipedia services for 48 hours, threatening to block it if the content deemed ‘blasphemous’ was not deleted.
Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia, created and edited by volunteers around the world and hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation.
PTA spokesperson Malahat Obaid said the ban had primarily been imposed for non-compliance with the orders.
“The decision can be reviewed once Wikipedia removes sacrilegious content that has been identified by the regulatory authority,” the spokesperson added.
The PTA spokesperson earlier stated that Wikipedia was approached for blocking/removal of the said content by issuing a notice.
An opportunity for a hearing was also provided; however, the platform neither complied by removing the blasphemous content nor appeared before the authority.
Given the intentional failure on part of the platform to comply with the directions of PTA, the services of Wikipedia were degraded for 48 hours with the direction to block/remove the reported contents.
On Friday, the Wikimedia Foundation said “it does not make decisions around what content is included on Wikipedia or how that content is maintained”.
It added that this is “by design to ensure that articles are the result of many people coming together to determine what information should be presented on the site, resulting in richer, more neutral articles”.
“As of Friday, February 3, our internal traffic reports indicate that Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects are no longer accessible to users in Pakistan, ” it said.
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