Friday, March 24, 2023

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Blocks Wikipedia

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has temporarily blocked access to Wikipedia in Pakistan due to the failure of the website to remove content deemed “unlawful” by the authority. The move has caused a great deal of concern among internet users in the country, who rely on the platform as a source of information and knowledge.

In a statement, the Wikimedia Foundation, which operates Wikipedia, expressed disappointment with the decision, saying that it would deny the fifth most populous nation in the world access to the “largest free knowledge repository”. The Foundation also stated that it believes that access to knowledge is a human right and called on the government of Pakistan to restore access to the site promptly.

The PTA had earlier degraded Wikipedia’s services for 48 hours and issued a warning to the site, stating that non-compliance would result in a complete block of the platform in Pakistan. Despite being given an opportunity to remove the “blasphemous content” and attend a hearing, the site failed to comply, leading to the temporary ban.

The ban has been met with criticism from human rights groups, who believe that it undermines the right to freedom of expression and access to information. The internet has become a crucial tool for citizens in many countries, and the ability to access information and knowledge is widely regarded as a fundamental human right.

The PTA has stated that the ban will be lifted once the reported content has been removed, and that it is committed to ensuring a safe online experience for all Pakistani citizens in accordance with local laws. However, the move has sparked a heated debate about the role of the government in regulating online content, and the balance between freedom of expression and protecting against material that is considered harmful or offensive.

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