Pakistan threatened to ban Wikipedia

Pakistan, a very conservative country, has threatened to ban Wikipedia if "blasphemous information" is not taken down by Friday. This is the latest restriction threat in the country.

Social media behemoths Facebook and YouTube have already been restricted due to material considered heretical, a very sensitive subject in Pakistan, a country with a Muslim majority.

Without going into detail about the offending material, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said on Wednesday that the website has until late Friday to take action.

The reference on the internet, which gets billions of visits every month, would be "degraded" for now, meaning that access to it would be interrupted and limited.

The warning said that access to Wikipedia had been cut off for 48 hours and that the reported items should be banned or taken down because "the system willfully refused to follow the orders of PTA."

If Wikipedia doesn't comply, the portal will be banned in Pakistan.

Some of the website's pages have previously been subject to limitations.

Advocates for free expression have long criticized what they see as sluggish government censorship and control of the internet, printed media, and electronic media in Pakistan.

Digital rights campaigner Usama Khilji called the restriction "disproportionate, unlawful, and frankly ludicrous."

Due to the unpredictability and arbitrary nature of the censorship, he said, "this will have an effect on students, academics, the healthcare industry, researchers, and lower investor confidence in Pakistan."

An inquiry for clarification from AFP did not get a response right away from Wikipedia.

Pakistan banned YouTube from 2012 to 2016 because of a movie that made fun of the Prophet Mohammed and led to violent protests all over the Muslim world.

In the past few years, the country has also often blocked the popular video-sharing app TikTok because of its "immoral" and "indecent" content. 

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