PM orders to end ban on Wikipedia

By: News Desk
Published: 09:02 PM, 6 Feb, 2023
PM orders to end ban on Wikipedia
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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Monday gave orders to remove the ban on Wikipedia in Pakistan, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

A committee has also been formed to look into the matter. The committee has been directed to submit recommendations to the federal cabinet within a week.

The committee includes the Minister of Law, Minister of Information, Minister of Commerce. The Minister of Communications is also included in the committee.

Earlier, Wikipedia was blocked in Pakistan on Saturday after authorities censored the website for hosting "blasphemous content" in the latest blow to digital rights in the deeply conservative nation.

Blasphemy is a sensitive issue in Muslim-majority Pakistan, and social media giants Facebook and YouTube have previously been banned for publishing content deemed sacrilegious.

The online encyclopedia had been blocked across the country on Friday "after it failed to respond to our repeated correspondence over removal of the blasphemous content and meet the deadline", Malahat Obaid, a spokesman for the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, told AFP on Saturday.

The PTA had earlier in the week given Wikipedia a 48 hour ultimatum to remove material, without publically specifying its exact objections.

"They did remove some of the material but not all," Obaid said. "It will remain blocked until they remove all the objectionable material."

The Wikimedia Foundation -- the non-profit fund managing Wikipedia -- said the block "denies the fifth most populous nation in the world access to the largest free knowledge repository".

"If it continues, it will also deprive everyone access to Pakistan’s knowledge, history, and culture," a statement said.