Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has blocked Wikipedia services across Pakistan after the free online encyclopedia platform failed to remove blasphemous content.
In a statement, the PTA said that Telecommunication Authority approached Wikipedia to remove the blasphemous content by issuing a notice under applicable law and court order(s).
“The platform neither complied by removing the blasphemous content nor appeared before the Authority,” the statement read.
Earlier in a statement from the Wikimedia Foundation, “On 1 February, we received a notification from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority stating “the services of Wikipedia have been degraded for 48 hours” for failure to remove content deemed “unlawful.” As of 3 February, our data shows this has extended into a full block”.
It continued that a block of the platform in Pakistan would deny the fifth most populous nation in the world access to the “largest free knowledge repository” and would “deprive everyone access to Pakistan’s history and culture”.
It hoped that the government of Pakistan joined it in a commitment to knowledge as a human right and restore access to Wikipedia promptly “so that the people of Pakistan can continue to receive and share knowledge with the world”.
“We believe that access to knowledge is a human right,” the statement added.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) degraded Wikipedia services in the country for 48 hours for ‘not blocking/removing sacrilegious content.
“Given the intentional failure on the 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,” the telecom regulator added.
The authority warned that in case of non-compliance by Wikipedia, the platform would be blocked in Pakistan and its restoration would be “reconsidered subjecting to blocking/removal of the reported unlawful content”.
Remember that Wikipedia service was blocked after it failed to remove the “sacrilegious content”.
This is not the first time the authority has taken notice of objectionable content on Wikipedia. In December 2020, PTA issued notices to Google and Wikipedia on account of disseminating sacrilegious content through the platforms.