Pakistan blocks Wikipedia after 48-hour deadline to remove ‘blasphemous content’ ends

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan has decided to block Wikipedia after it refused to remove the content considered blasphemous by Pakistan from its website. The restoration of access within its territory will be subject to Wikipedia removing the alleged blasphemous content from its website.

Earlier, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) degraded access to the online encyclopedia by reducing or disrupting access to it after giving it a 48-hour deadline to remove all ‘blasphemous’ content. Wikipedia was given this warning on February 1, however, they were not told which content is considered blasphemous by Pakistan.

As per a report by The News, Wikipedia was approached for blocking/removal of the blasphemous content by issuing a notice under applicable law and a court order, however, they failed to comply.

An opportunity was further provided by Pakistan to appear for a hearing or remove the ‘blasphemous’ content, but since Wikipedia didn’t pay attention to either, PTA decided to block them, their spokesperson said.

The restoration of Wikipedia services in Pakistan will be subject to the removal of all the content that Pakistan considers blasphemous.

Wikipedia got a warning from Pakistan

Earlier, on February 1, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said that it will block Wikipedia if it fails to take down content deemed to be blasphemous within 48 hours.

“Wikipedia was approached for blocking/removal of the said contents by issuing a notice under applicable law & court order(s). An opportunity for a hearing was also provided, however, the platform neither complied by removing the blasphemous content nor appeared before the Authority. 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,” the press release from PTA read.

PTA had warned Wikipedia that its services will be blocked in Pakistan in case it fails to comply with its directions.

In January, the Parliament reinforced Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws, which are regularly applied to settle personal scores or to persecute minorities.

The laws, which currently carry the death penalty for anyone found guilty of insulting Islam or the Prophet Muhammad, can now also be used to punish those found guilty of insulting those associated with him.

Source : Opindia

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