Pakistan bans Wikipedia over ‘blasphemous’ content

by: Harry Johnson | copyright: eTurboNews – Travel Industry News – World Travel News

Blasphemy is illegal in Pakistan, a Muslim-majority country of over 230 million, and can result in a death sentence for the offender.

Today, several news sources, citing Pakistan’s media regulator, reported that popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia has been blocked in South Asian country for failure to delete some content judged “sacrilegious” by the Pakistani authorities.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) announced that it had “degraded” Wikipedia’s service in the country for 48 hours as a warning. According to the regulator, the website ignored a request to remove unspecified “blasphemous contents.”

According to Malahat Obaid, spokesman for PTA, the agency was in contact with Wikipedia over the issue. Obaid said that access to the online encyclopedia would be restored if it complies with PTA’s demands.

“The platform neither complied by removing the blasphemous content nor appeared before the Authority,” the PTA said in official statement on its website.

The regulator added that its mission was to maintain “a safe online experience for all Pakistani citizens according to local laws.”

In 2020, the PTA sent official notices to Wikipedia and Google, demanding the removal of “offensive” content.

The regular said at the time that it had received complaints about Wikipedia displaying cartoons that ridiculed the Prophet Mohammed, among other things.

Wikipedia is a multilingual free online encyclopedia written and maintained by a community of volunteers, known as Wikipedians, through open collaboration and using a wiki-based editing system.

Wikipedia is the largest and most-read reference work in history. It is consistently one of the 10 most popular websites ranked by Similarweb and formerly Alexa.

As of 2022, Wikipedia was ranked the 5th most popular site in the world.

Wikipedia is hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation, an American non-profit organization funded mainly through donations.

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