Pakistan Blocks Wikipedia Over ‘Sacrilegious Content’

The federal government of Pakistan has blocked entry to Wikipedia from inside the nation over so-called “sacrilegious content material,” in line with the Wikimedia Basis, the nonprofit that oversees the web site and its community-edited content material. Pakistan requested Wikipedia to both block or take away “sacrilegious” and “blasphemous” content material from the web encyclopedia, although it’s not but clear what content material the federal government discovered objectionable.

“As of Friday, February 3, our inner site visitors studies point out that Wikipedia and Wikimedia tasks are now not accessible to customers in Pakistan,” the Wikimedia Basis stated in an announcement revealed on-line late Friday.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) introduced on its web site on Wednesday that it had “downgraded” Wikipedia, which means the web encyclopedia was working extremely gradual for anybody making an attempt to entry it in Pakistan. The PTA stated the downgrading would stay in place for 2 days, after which era the location can be banned completely if the “blasphemous content material” wasn’t eliminated. And on Friday it seems the federal government company adopted by on that menace.

A spokesperson for the PTA, Malahat Obaid, informed the BBC on Saturday that Wikipedia didn’t reply to “repeated correspondence” in regards to the difficulty. However, once more, it’s nonetheless not clear what content material the federal government particularly finds objectionable.

“The restoration of the companies of Wikipedia might be reconsidered topic to blocking / elimination of the reported illegal contents. PTA is dedicated to making sure a secure on-line expertise for all Pakistani residents in line with native legal guidelines,” the PTA stated in an announcement.

As German information web site DW factors out, Pakistan has a protracted historical past of banning social media web sites. YouTube was blocked within the nation from 2012 till 2016 as a result of the video sharing web site carried a movie in regards to the Prophet Mohammed which angered and offended many Muslims. Relationship apps like Grindr and Tinder have additionally been banned within the nation.

“In Pakistan, English Wikipedia receives greater than 50 million pageviews monthly, adopted by Urdu and Russian Wikipedias,” Wikimedia stated in an announcement.

“There may be additionally a large and engaged neighborhood of editors in Pakistan that contribute historic and academic content material. A block of Wikipedia in Pakistan denies the fifth most populous nation on this planet entry to the biggest free information repository. If it continues, it should additionally deprive everybody entry to Pakistan’s information, historical past, and tradition,” the assertion from Wikimedia continued.

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Jean Nicholas

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