Pakistan threatens to ban Wikipedia for ‘blasphemous’ content

A countdown has started. The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) announced on Wednesday that it has given Wikipedia until Friday evening February 3 to remove content deemed “blasphemous” of its online pages, threatening otherwise to cut off access to the website on its territory. The authority did not give details of the content in question.

In the meantime of the ultimatum, access to the participatory encyclopedia has been restricted in the country, the latter only functioning in mode ” degraded “the PTA reported.

Repeated censorship of several social networks

In Pakistan, free speech advocates have long criticized government-imposed censorship and control of the internet and media.

In the past, social media giants have already been blocked for the same reason, in this Muslim country where the issue of blasphemy is particularly sensitive. The same goes for some Wikipedia pages.

Access to Facebook was thus made impossible for two weeks in 2010 after the publication of supposedly blasphemous content. For its part, YouTube remained inaccessible there from 2012 to 2016 due to a film anti islam of which the broadcast had led at the time to violence which had led to the death of several people.

In 2014, Twitter accepted Pakistan’s request by blocking access to content considered to undermine Islam for the first time. More recently, the popular video-sharing platform TikTok has been repeatedly blocked in the country for content deemed “indecent” And “immoral”.

Read also: After three years of ban, YouTube returns to Pakistan

“The ban is disproportionate, unconstitutional and frankly ridiculous”said Usama Khilji, a digital rights advocate, adding of the threat of a ban from Wikipedia: “It will affect students, academia, the health sector, researchers, and limit investor confidence in Pakistan due to uncertainty and arbitrary censorship. »

The World with AFP

source site-29