Pakistan reverses block on Wikimedia projects, including Wikipedia
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Thursday, February 9, 2023
On Monday, Pakistan's government reversed its block on all Wikimedia Foundation projects, including the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. Regulator (PTA) had imposed the indefinite ban Friday, alleging the websites hosted "sacrilegious content" offensive to Islamic beliefs.
Human rights advocates rebuked the government over the block, including, which declared it an "unjustifiable restriction on the right to freedom of expression".
Prime Ministerassembled a commission of five to investigate the block. On Monday, he instructed the PTA to, without delay, restore access to the websites.
tweeted Sharif's decree, which said: "The prime minister is pleased to direct that the website (Wikipedia) may be restored with immediate effect"., Pakistani ,
On February 1, the PTA stated "the services of Wikipedia have been degraded  for 48 hours" and gave the Foundation until Friday night to remove "unlawful" content from its websites. The PTA warned it might block Wikipedia if "[the] Foundation failed to comply with the takedown orders".
A Wikimedia Foundation press release on Friday announced the block; PTA released a statement confirming it: "An opportunity of hearing was also provided, however, the platform neither complied by removing the blasphemous content nor appeared before the Authority".
The Foundation tweeted on Monday, "Wikipedia is no longer blocked in Pakistan. We are happy to say we have confirmed that traffic on @Wikipedia and other Wikimedia websites from Pakistan has resumed as before."
The Pakistani government has repeatedly blocked access to certain websites for its citizens, drawing fire from free speech activists, according to .
In 2010, Pakistan blocked Facebook amid the backlash to Internet users' advocacy for the creation of ; it eventually repealed the block. The government also blocked YouTube from 2012 to 2016 for hosting a movie about Muhammad, and asked the site in 2020 to prevent Pakistanis from accessing "objectionable" videos.
Additionally, the PTA earlier banned dating applications such as Chinese social media application people in Pakistan alone have acquired millions of times.and , citing "immoral" components, and has repeatedly blocked , a
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- "YouTube, Facebook blocked in Pakistan" — Wikinews, May 20, 2010
- Wikimedia Foundation. "Wikipedia is no longer blocked in Pakistan" — , February 7, 2023
- Stuti Mishra. "Pakistan unblocks Wikipedia just days after ban for ‘blasphemous content’" — , February 7, 2023
- Associated Press. "Wikipedia again up and running as Pakistan lifts ban on site" — , February 7, 2023
- Sravasti Dasgupta. "Pakistan blocks access to Wikipedia over ‘blasphemous’ content" — , February 4, 2023
- "Pakistan blocks Wikipedia citing ‘sacrilegious’ content" — , February 4, 2023
- Maria Zaccaro. "Pakistan blocks Wikipedia for 'blasphemous content'" — , February 4, 2023