Pakistan blocks Wikipedia
As first Reported by Bloomberg, “Pakistan blocks Wikipedia” – – Pakistan, a country known for its rich cultural heritage, has recently taken a drastic measure by blocking access to the popular online encyclopedia, Wikipedia. The reason cited by the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) is the presence of “blasphemous content” on the platform, which is considered offensive to the religious sentiments of the country’s majority Muslim population.
Wikipedia Services Degraded Over Unlawful Content
Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) in a Press Release released a statement over blocking of Wikipedia over Unlawful Content;
(Islamabad: 1st February 2023): Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has degraded Wikipedia services in the country on account of not blocking/removing sacrilegious contents.
Wikipedia was approached for blocking/removal of the said contents by issuing a notice under applicable law and court order(s). An opportunity of 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 have been degraded for 48 hours with the direction to block/remove the reported contents. In case of non-compliance by Wikipedia the platform will be blocked within Pakistan.
The restoration of the services of Wikipedia will be reconsidered subject to blocking/ removal of the reported unlawful contents. PTA is committed to ensuring a safe online experience for all Pakistani citizens according to local laws.
Wikipedia was approached for blocking/removal of the said contents by issuing a notice under applicable law & court order(s). An opportunity of hearing was also provided, however, the platform neither complied by removing the blasphemous content nor appeared before the Authority. pic.twitter.com/6dWRcbxHGB
— PTA (@PTAofficialpk) February 1, 2023
Pakistan did not say what content Wikipedia was actually asked to remove, and the Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, did not respond to reports. Pakistan has previously blocked overseas websites for similar reasons. For example, YouTube was blocked for 3 years, and TikTok was also blocked from 2020 to 2021 for containing “immoral” content.
The Blasphemous Content
The exact nature of the “blasphemous content” that led to the block has not been disclosed by the PTA. However, sources suggest that it may have been related to articles about religious figures, practices, and beliefs that are considered sensitive in Pakistan.
The recent block on Wikipedia in Pakistan has sparked a global conversation about the freedom of speech and the role of technology in society. The presence of “blasphemous content” on the platform has led to the restriction of access, impacting the people of Pakistan who rely on the platform for educational and research purposes. The Wikimedia Foundation’s efforts to resolve the issue and restore access to Wikipedia in the country will play a crucial role in determining the future of the platform in Pakistan.
- Why was Wikipedia blocked in Pakistan? The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) blocked access to Wikipedia in the country due to the presence of “blasphemous content” on the platform, which is considered offensive to the religious sentiments of the country’s majority Muslim population.
- What is the impact of the block on the people of Pakistan? The block on Wikipedia has had a significant impact on the people of Pakistan