Pakistan Blocks Wikipedia Over ‘Sacrilegious Content material’

The federal government of Pakistan has blocked entry to Wikipedia from throughout the nation over so-called “sacrilegious content material,” in response to 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 inside site visitors reviews point out that Wikipedia and Wikimedia tasks are now not accessible to customers in Pakistan,” the Wikimedia Basis mentioned in an announcement printed on-line late Friday.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) introduced on its web site on Wednesday that it had “downgraded” Wikipedia, that means the web encyclopedia was operating extremely sluggish for anybody making an attempt to entry it in Pakistan. The PTA mentioned the downgrading would stay in place for two days, after which era the positioning could be banned solely if the “blasphemous content material” wasn’t eliminated. And on Friday it seems the federal government company adopted by means of on that risk.

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

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

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