Pakistan blocks Wikipedia after 48-hour deadline ends: Report
Pakistan has cracked down on social media platforms and websites in recent years. In 2012, the Pakistan government had blocked more than 700 YouTube links to an anti-Islam film which triggered massive protests across several countries.
Pakistan has banned Wikipedia over the website's refusal to remove what the establishment termed as ‘blasphemous content’, Pakistan website The News reported. The restoration of the services will be subjected to consideration if the website removes the content.
The blacklisting of Wikipedia comes days after the Pakistan Telecom Authority degraded Wikipedia services for 48 hours, threatening to block it if the content deemed ‘blasphemous’ was not deleted.
“Wikipedia was approached for blocking/removal of the said contents by issuing a notice under applicable law & court order(s). An opportunity of hearing was also provided, however, the platform neither complied by removing the blasphemous content nor appeared before the Authority”, the Pakistan Telecom Authority tweeted.
“Given the intentional failure on part of the platform to comply with the directions of PTA, the services of Wikipedia have been degraded for 48 hours with the direction to block/remove the reported contents”, it added.
This is not the first time when the Pakistan government has cracked down on social media platforms and websites, an act slammed by freedom of speech advocates in the country.
"The ban is disproportionate, unconstitutional, and quite ridiculous," said Usama Khilji, a digital rights activist, had told AFP, adding that the move will impact students, academicians, researchers and other sections of the society.
In a latest development, the Wikimedia Foundation has urged Pakistan to restore the website.
"A block of @Wikipedia in Pakistan denies the 5th most populous nation in the world access to the largest free knowledge repository. If it continues, it will also deprive everyone access to Pakistan's history and culture," tweeted The Foundation.
In 2012, the Pakistan government had blocked more than 700 YouTube links to an anti-Islam film which triggered massive protests across several countries. The top court had directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to block the links to the movie, Chinese media agency Xinhua had reported.
The then chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry had directed the telecom regulator to take down all the ‘sacrilege material’ which disrespected Islam or the Prophet in any way.