The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said on Wednesday that Wikipedia services had been degraded in the country for 48 hours for not "blocking/removing sacrilegious content".

In a statement, the telecom regulator said it had approached Wikipedia — a free online encyclopedia — for blocking/removing the content in question by issuing a notice under "applicable law and court order(s)".

"An opportunity of hearing was also provided, however, the platform neither complied by removing the blasphemous content nor appeared before the authority," the PTA statement said.

"Given the intentional failure on part of the platform to comply with the directions of PTA, the services of Wikipedia have been degraded for 48 hours with the direction to block/remove the reported content," the statement added.

The regulator warned that in case of non-compliance, Wikipedia would be blocked in the country and its restoration would be "reconsidered subjecting to blocking/removal of the reported unlawful content".

This is not the first time the authority has taken notice of objectionable content on the platform. In December 2020, the PTA had issued notices to Wikipedia and Google Inc for "disseminating sacrilegious content".

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