PTA blocks Wikipedia across country

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Saturday blocked popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia in the country for not blocking, removing sacrilegious content within the 48-hour deadline given to the website, a spokesperson confirmed on Saturday.

Wikipedia is the free, editable online encyclopedia often used as a starting point by millions across the world for basic information. The PTA had on Wednesday degraded Wikipedia services countrywide for not complying with the directives for the removal of controversial content from the website.

The regulator said the website had neither responded to its requests, nor taken down the content in question. In a statement earlier this week, the telecom regulator said it had approached Wikipedia to block or remove the content in question by issuing a notice under “applicable law and court order(s)”.

He further explained that PTA sent a Pakistani court order to ‘Wikipedia’ for removing the offending content. However, Wikipedia did not comply with court order for removal of the offending content and did not appear before the concerned authority.

“An opportunity of hearing was also provided, however, the platform neither complied by removing the blasphemous content nor appeared before the authority,” the statement had said. “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 content,” the statement added.

The regulator warned that in case of non-compliance, Wikipedia would be blocked in the country and its restoration would be “reconsidered subjecting to blocking/removal of the reported unlawful content”.(INP)