Pakistan Lifts Ban On Wikipedia
Islamabad, Pakistan – A ban on Wikipedia has been lifted in Pakistan two days after it was imposed over alleged blasphemous content.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday ordered the country’s telecom regulator to restore the online encyclopaedia with “immediate effect.”
“Blocking the site in its entirety was not a suitable measure to restrict access to some objectionable content,” a statement issued by Sharif’s office said.
“The unintended consequences of this blanket ban, therefore, outweigh its benefits.”
The statement, shared on Twitter by Information Minister, Marriyum Aurangzeb, also said a committee has been constituted by the government to review the decision to ban the website as well as matters related to “other online content.”
The committee will explore and recommend alternative technical measures to deal with objectionable content on Wikipedia or other online information sites, keeping in view the “social cultural and religious sensitivities” of the country, where the issue of blasphemy remains a highly contentious and sensitive matter.
At least 80 people have been killed in Pakistan over blasphemy allegations since 1990, including family members of the accused, their lawyers and at least one judge. Reports said.
The Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, welcomed Pakistan’s move to restore the website.
“Lifting this ban means that the people of Pakistan can continue to benefit from and participate in its growth within a global movement that strives to spread and share knowledge that is verified, reliable and free,” it said.
Aljazeera /Shakirat Sadiq