Wikipedia Banned In Pakistan 'For Not Removing Unlawful Content'

Wikipedia Banned In Pakistan 'For Not Removing Unlawful Content'
In a continuation of its misguided priorities, the Government of Pakistan has blocked Wikipedia, the open source free-to-use online encyclopedia, from being accessed in the country.

The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) has routinely blocked the services of various internet platforms, including YouTube and Facebook, while the country faces intermittent connectivity disruptions as a regular affair.

According to a statement published by the Wikimedia Foundation, the parent organization of Wikipedia, the PTA issued a notification to them that said that their services in the country had been “degraded for 48 hours” due to “failure to remove content deemed unlawful.”

Latest data available with Wikimedia now shows that PTA has imposed a “full block” on Wikipedia in the country.

In response to the PTA's action, the Wikimedia Foundation has called on Pakistani authorities to restore access to Wikipedia.

“We believe that access to knowledge is a human right. A block of Wikipedia in Pakistan denies the 5th most populous nation in the world access to the largest free knowledge repository,” the Foundation said.

The ban on Wikipedia has caused uproar and condemnation, as many wonder how the financially stressed and deeply polarised country can hope to develop an educated and globally integrated society when it continues to disengage with international technological platforms.

Netizens are also decrying Pakistani state institutions' continuous efforts to deprive the general public from access to information. The over-extended state of PTA's apparatus, and its cost to the nation, is also cause for concern among many.

Some are even calling for PTA to ban the internet altogether, if its actual goal is to attempt and control information flows, rather than regulate and improve telecommunications for the interest and benefit of the masses, rather than just for the entrenched elite.

This is not the first time a major global information disseminating platform has been banned in Pakistan. Previously Pakistan has banned Youtube, Tiktok and Facebook on multiple occasions and the PTA is famous for blocking websites critical of the country's powerful establishment. Naya Daur has been a victim of this censorship policy twice in the past. First in April 2018 and later in January 2020 right after General Bajwa's extension.