Pakistan Telecommunications Authority may block Wikipedia if it does not remove “blasphemous content”

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The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) said on February 2 that it will block Wikipedia if the platform does not remove content deemed sacrilegious within 48 hours, it reported. Bloomberg.

The country’s telecoms regulator said they have “downgraded” the platform’s services for failure to comply with an earlier instruction to remove “illegal” content, according to a statement.

Although the PTA did not give details about the measures taken. Adding more, the PTA made it clear that if Wikipedia does not remove the content in question, it “will be blocked within Pakistan.”

“There is slowness and it will definitely affect especially those who use Wikipedia for educational and informational purposes,” Wahaj-us-Siraj, chief executive of internet provider Nayatel, said in a text message.

Earlier, on February 1, the PTA issued an official notice statement under applicable law and an injunction was granted to the services along with the opportunity for a hearing.

“PTA has downgraded Wikipedia services in the country for failing to block/remove sacrilegious content. Wikipedia was contacted to block/remove such content by issuing a notice pursuant to applicable law and court order(s) A hearing opportunity was also offered provided, however, the platform does not comply with the removal of blasphemous content or appear before the Authority,” the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority official statement said in an official statement.

“Given the platform’s intentional non-compliance with the PTA’s instructions, Wikipedia’s services have been degraded for 48 hours with the instruction to block/remove reported content,” the official statement added.

According to the details, blasphemy is a sensitive issue in Pakistan’s Muslim majority and its laws approve capital punishment for anyone convicted of affronting Islam.

In the past, Pakistan has also cracked down on various social media platforms for broadcasting content deemed blasphemous.

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