The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has banned 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.
Speaking to Dawn.com
, PTA spokesperson Malahat Obaid said the ban had primarily been imposed for non-compliance with the orders.
“The decision can be reviewed once Wikipedia removes sacrilegious content that has been identified by the regulatory authority,” the spokesperson added.
Users are met with “this site cannot be reached” when trying to access the website.
The message one sees when going to Wikipedia.
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)”.
“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”.
This is not the first time the authority has taken notice of objectionable content on the platform. In December 2020, the PTA had issued notices
to Wikipedia and Google Inc for “disseminating sacrilegious content”.
Says decision can be reviewed if Wikipedia removes the content.