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Pakistan Bans Wikipedia Over 'Blasphemous' Content

© AFP 2023 LIONEL BONAVENTURE The "Wikipedia" logo. (File)
The Wikipedia logo. (File) - Sputnik India, 1920, 04.02.2023
The country's telecom regulator previously degraded Wikipedia's services after the online encyclopedia failed to remove content considered controversial.
Wikipedia has been banned in Pakistan for not removing content that Islamabad considers blasphemous, a spokesperson of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has confirmed.
The PTA is yet to disclose the exact nature of the content which caused the ban.

"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," the PTA said on Twitter.

Subsequently, PTA spokesperson Malahat Obaid said that the ban on the open-sourced and crowd-funded information provider was imposed because it failed to comply with the regulator's order of removing or blocking "sacrilegious content."
"The decision can be reviewed once Wikipedia removes sacrilegious content that has been identified by the regulatory authority," Obaid added.
The PTA order announcing the ban came days after the authority downgraded Wikipedia's services earlier this week for not taking action against content considered controversial on the widely-accessed source.
Several social media users from the country complained about the ban. Some even shared screenshots showing "this site cannot be reached" while attempting to access the platform.

On Friday, the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit running Wikipedia, commented that it "does not make decisions around what content is included on Wikipedia or how that content is maintained."

"We believe that access to knowledge is a human right. A block of Wikipedia in Pakistan denies the fifth most populous nation in the world access to the largest free knowledge repository. If it continues, it will also deprive everyone access to Pakistan’s history and culture," it added.