Pakistan accuses Wikipedia of allowing blasphemous content, blocks site


Pakistan’s media regulator said Monday it blocked Wikipedia services in the country for hurting Muslim sentiment by not removing purportedly blasphemous content from the site. Critics denounced Islamabad’s action, saying it was a blow to digital rights.

Under Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws, anyone found guilty of insulting Islam or its figures can be sentenced to death, although the country has yet to carry out capital punishment for blasphemy.

Even allegations of the offence are often enough to provoke mob violence and even deadly attacks. International and domestic rights groups say that accusations of blasphemy have often been used to intimidate religious minorities and settle personal scores.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority says it blocked Wikipedia because a 48-hour deadline to remove the unspecified content was ignored, according to a spokesperson.

“Such things hurt the sentiments of Muslims,” said Malahat Obaid, from the regulator.

She said Pakistani authorities are in talks with Wikipedia officials and the ban could be lifted if the platform completely removes anti-Islam content.

Previous TikTok, YouTube censures

The Wikimedia Foundation, in a statement on Saturday confirming the ban, said it has “a sizeable and engaged community of editors in Pakistan.”

“A block of Wikipedia in Pakistan denies the fifth-most populous nation in the world access to the largest free knowledge repository,” the foundation said. “If it continues, it will also deprive everyone of access to Pakistan’s knowledge, history and culture.”

Mohsin Raza Khan, a Pakistani social media expert, said it is easy to update or replace Wikipedia material deemed sacrilegious or offensive for Muslims — so blocking the site is not the answer.

“Pakistan’s media regulator and other authorities should try to find some viable technical solution to such problems, as blasphemous content is available everywhere,” he said. “It is equal to a drop in the ocean of knowledge.”

The Lahore-based Digital Rights Foundation earlier called the Wikipedia ban an affront to Pakistanis’ right to access information and a mockery of the country’s commitment to uphold its human rights obligations.

In the past, Pakistan briefly banned TikTok twice for allegedly uploading “immoral, obscene and vulgar” content.

But the ban was later lifted after TikTok assured Pakistan it would remove immoral content and also block users who upload “unlawful content.” The app was downloaded millions of times in Pakistan when the ban was imposed in 2020 and 2021.

In 2008, Pakistan banned YouTube over videos depicting Prophet Muhammad. Muslims generally believe any physical depiction of Islam’s prophet is blasphemous.





Source link

Denial of responsibility! galaxyconcerns is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.