Several Russian-based ISPs are blocking free online library Wikipedia after content editors refused to delete an “offending article,” according to news reports.
The URL of a page describing how to use charas, a type of cannabis, was banned by the court of a small Russian town, Cherny Yar.
The illegal character of the information posted to Wikipedia has been confirmed by expert analysis and a corresponding decision of the Federal Drug Control Service of Russia,” said Roskomnadzor, Russia’s communications watchdog. This forces almost 30% of ISPs to block Wikipedia completely, due to its https protocol.
Russian Wikipedia editors modified the article, adding further information and citations to reliable sources, to bring it in line with Wikipedia’s standards.
Censorship of Wikipedia content runs contrary to the Wikimedia vision: a world in which everyone can freely access the sum of all knowledge,” Wikimedia, the parent organization of Wikipedia, told BuzzFeed News. “The Wikimedia Foundation supports the Russian Wikipedia community and encourages the Russian government to reconsider this decision.”
“Every year the Wikimedia Foundation receives requests from governments, individuals, and companies to take down or alter Wikipedia content. We grant few to none, complying only when legally required under U.S. law, as the Wikimedia Foundation subject to U.S. jurisdiction,” it added.
In the past, Roskomnadzor has banned or threatened to ban websites such as Reddit, Github, Vimeo and BuzzFeed, only to reverse the decision days later in most cases.