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PTA blocks mainstream websites Alibaba, Buzzfeed, Bloomberg by ‘mistake’

On May 26, PTA directed ISPs to block certain websites with objectionable or unethical content as reported by Dawn earlier. However, in a surprise move, these websites included Alibaba, Buzzfeed, and Bloomberg, etc. too.

None of these websites contains such content, as they are quite specific in their domain; Alibaba is an e-commerce platform with a diverse range of products and services. Bloomberg, on the other hand, is one of the leading financial reporting websites while Buzzfeed caters to media, entertainment, etc.

There seems to be confusion when it led to the blockage of such websites, as part of its directives PTA has been blocking websites, repeatedly. According to reports, earlier PTA has blocked thousands of URLs and websites earlier as well.

The ministry of interior or any other relevant government department usually generates these blockage requests and PTA responds to them. However, there seems to be no clear mechanism when it comes to blocking websites. Several media activists and civil society members protested on twitter with PTA`s erroneous blockage of mainstream websites.

When reporters from Dawn reached out to PTCL technical support, they confirmed that the PTA had passed instructions to do so. However, PTA had denied so. It was only after Dawn reporters reached out to PTA; it issued fresh directives to unblock the aforementioned websites. Upon clarification, PTA stated that the websites in question were included in the list of websites hosting objectionable content by mistake.

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