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Pakistan is reportedly blocking Wikipedia

Pakistan is reportedly blocking Wikipedia


At the beginning of the month, the country’s government threatened to do this if it didn’t block or remove ‘sacrilegious’ content.

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Illustration of the Wikipedia logo on a black, red, and tan background.
It’s currently unclear what the government wants removed from the site.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Wikipedia has been blocked in Pakistan over “sacrilegious” content on the site, according to a report from Bloomberg. The ban comes after the government ordered the site to remove offending content within 48 hours, and the country’s telecom authority “degraded” its services.

It’s not currently clear what Wikipedia is being asked to remove, though Bloomberg reports that it’s still in talks with Pakistani officials. Wikimedia, the foundation in charge of Wikipedia, didn’t immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment on the matter. According to research from the OpenNet Initiative, the country blocks sites that have content it considers to be “blasphemous, anti-Islamic, or threatening to internal security.”

Pakistan has blocked several major sites in the past. It banned YouTube for three years, and in 2020 and 2021, it did the same to TikTok, citing complaints of “immoral / indecent content” being shared on the app.

Wikipedia is no stranger to censorship and backlash from other nation-states — there’s even an article on the site dedicated to tracking it. Recently, an editor for the site was arrested in Belarus, and Russia threatened to block the site if it didn’t change information on a page covering the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia has temporarily blocked Wikipedia before, and the site has also been banned in countries like Turkey, China, and Myanmar, with other countries blocking specific articles and content.