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Pakistan blocks Wikipedia over ‘sacrilegious’ content

Previously, access to the website was restricted for 48 hours by the nation’s telecom authorities.

Wikipedia has been blocked by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), which had previously restricted access to the website for 48 hours due to what it deemed to be “sacrilegious” material. According to a PTA official who talked to Bloomberg, the organization has restricted the online encyclopedia since it hasn’t taken down the offending material in the last several days.

On February 1st, the telecom authority disclosed that it had contacted the website with a court order asking it to take down “blasphemous” content. The PTA threatened to stop Wikipedia totally if it didn’t comply with its demands or appear before authorities when Wikipedia refused to do either of those things. The CIA didn’t make the Wikipedia articles it doesn’t want Pakistanis to see publicly available.

Pakistan has been attempting to establish more control over the content that may be obtained on various internet platforms, as TechCrunch points out. Prior to TikTok’s vow to censor videos in accordance with Pakistani “societal standards” and laws, the PTA temporarily banned the short-form video app in 2020 because of “immoral and indecent” content. It is important to note that the nation, which has a majority of Muslims, has strict blasphemy laws, and that violating them can result in life in jail or even death.

According to its internal traffic reports, the Wikimedia Foundation verified in a blog post that Pakistan had blocked Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. “Urdu, Russian, and English Wikipedia’s all have more than 50 million visitors per month in Pakistan. In Pakistan, there is a big and active community of editors who provide historical and educational content. The largest free information collection is inaccessible to Pakistan due to a block on Wikipedia. Pakistan is the world’s fifth most populous country. If it persists, everyone will lose access to knowledge about Pakistan’s history and culture “said the Foundation. It is now requesting that Pakistan’s government reopen the Wikipedia website there.

According to a PTA spokeswoman who spoke to Bloomberg, the organization is still in contact with Wikipedia administrators and will consider unblocking the website if all sacrilegious content has been removed.