Mailing List Archive

[Wikimedia-l] Re: Block of Wikipedia in Pakistan
Thank you for making a statement.

Could the WMF please publish the take down order (on-wiki)?

I understand that take down orders are not normally considered
confidential or private, though there may be reasons for you to
publish a redacted version. There are obvious benefits to volunteers
taking their own precautions to protect themselves and their projects
depending on the nature of what the PTA considers "sacrilegious
content" to be, and the news coverage indicates that the regulator has
so far not made this public.


Potential citations
1. Aljazeera:
2. WMF blog post:
3. Pakistan Today:
4. Yahoo News:

On Sat, 4 Feb 2023 at 01:45, Stephen LaPorte <> wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> Today, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) ordered that access to Wikipedia be suspended in Pakistan. We are urging the Pakistan government to restore access to Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects immediately.
> This action denies the fifth most populous nation in the world access to the world's largest, free online knowledge repository. If it continues, it will also deny the world the perspective of the people of Pakistan and the benefit of their knowledge, history, and culture.
> The Wikimedia Foundation received a notification from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority on February 1, 2023, stating “the services of Wikipedia have been degraded for 48 hours” for failure to remove content from the site deemed “unlawful” by the government. The notification further mentioned that a block of Wikipedia could follow, if the Foundation did not comply with the takedown orders. As of Friday February 3, our internal traffic reports indicate that Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects are no longer accessible to users in Pakistan.
> The Wikimedia Foundation is already examining various avenues and investigating how we can help restore access, while staying true to our values of verifiability, neutrality, and freedom of information.
> We are also prepared to support any members of the Wikimedia communities who are impacted. If you or someone you know is contacted by the Pakistani government in reference to the block, please contact us at If you or someone you know is in immediate physical danger in reference to the block, please contact right away. We are actively working to reach out to community leaders in the area.
> For over twenty years, our movement has supported knowledge as a fundamental human right. In defense of this right, we have opposed a growing number of threats that would interfere with the ability of people to access and contribute to free knowledge. We know that many of you will want to take action or speak out against the block. For now, please continue to do what is needed to remain safe. We will keep you updated on any new developments, actions we are taking, and ways which you can help return access to Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects in Pakistan.
> Thank you,
> Stephen
> --
> Stephen LaPorte (he/him/his)
> General Counsel
> Wikimedia Foundation
> NOTICE: As an attorney for the Wikimedia Foundation, for legal and ethical reasons, I cannot give legal advice to, or serve as a lawyer for, community members, volunteers, or staff members in their personal capacity. For more on what this means, please see our legal disclaimer.
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