PTA Blocks Wikipedia Due To Blasphemous Content


PTA blocks Wikipedia due to blasphemous content

The Spokesperson of the authority has confirmed that the site has been blocked for having contemptuous content, saying that it failed to remove it despite it was contacted and asked.

ISLAMABAD: (UrduPoint/Pakistan Point News-Feb 4th, 2023 The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Saturday blocked Wikipedia in the country for allegedly having offensive or blasphemy material on it.

The Regulator blocked the access to the site and degraded the portal’s services across the country.

“yes, it has been blocked,” the spokesperson of the authority confirmed to the media on Friday night.

The spokesperson said that Wikipedia was contacted for blocking/removal of the blasphemous content by issuing a notice under applicable law and court order(s). He said that an opportunity for hearing was also provided to it but the platform did not bother to address the issue.

Following the failure of the authority, he said the authority degraded the services of the Wikipedia and blocked it.

He said that the services would be restored only if the blasphemous material was removed.

According to the reports, Wikipedia expressed hope that the government of Pakistan joins it in "a commitment to knowledge as a human right and restores access to @Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects promptly", in order to allow people in the country to access and share knowledge.

Taking to Twitter, encyclopedia posted a thread of tweets and said that the suspension of its services would deprive the people of Pakistan from the “right to access knowledge”.

It tweeted, “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,”.

The online encyclopedia complained that the 5th most populous nation in the world is being "denied" access to the largest free knowledge repository, stressing that "access to knowledge is a human right".

"If it continues, it will also deprive everyone access to Pakistan's history and culture," it added.

Abdullah Hussain

Abdullah Hussain is a staff member who writes on politics, human rights, social issues and climate change.