Wikipedia, the well-recognized online encyclopaedia created by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, has been blocked in Pakistan due to alleged sacrilegious information.
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), which is responsible for regulating the country’s telco industry, said the site was blocked in response to a “large number of complaints” it had received against material unsuitable for viewing by Pakistani users.
The website, which is hosted on the Wikimedia Foundation’s servers, was blocked on the orders of the PTA, which said such content was “blasphemous” and should not be available to Pakistani users. The move was met with criticism from many users, who argue that the Pakistani government should not be allowed to censor or restrict access to content.
The PTA has also said that it will continue to monitor the content on Wikipedia for any “objectionable material” that could be deemed blasphemous. In a statement to The Indian Express, PTA spokesperson Khurram Sheikh said, “We have the authority to block any website that is in violation of Pakistani laws and contains sacrilegious content. This is an ongoing and arduous process, but there is a need to protect our young generation from such content that is not suitable for their consumption and understanding.”
The Wikimedia Foundation, the organisation behind Wikipedia, has said that it is “deeply concerned” by the announcement and that it is “working hard” to restore access to the website in Pakistan. The Foundation has also said that Wikipedia fully complies with the PTA’s requirements and guidelines and that it is “committed to continuing to provide a free and open source of knowledge to everyone in Pakistan.”
The banning of Wikipedia in Pakistan is a violation of free speech and of basic human rights, and it is essential that Pakistani authorities recognise this and work to ensure that the website is accessible once again. It is essential that Pakistani authorities recognise the importance of an open and uncensored access to information and provide a safe platform for all forms of intellectual discourse.
Wikipedia is blocked in Pakistan over ‘sacrilegious’ written content The Indian Express
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