Russia threatens Wikipedia with fines over “false data”

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Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2021.
Enlarge / Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2021.

RAMIL SITDIKOV/SPUTNIK/AFP through Getty Pictures

Roskomnadzor, Russia’s censorship authority, issued one other demand on Tuesday for Wikipedia to take away what it referred to as “unreliable socially important data.” The company warned that failure to conform might result in fines of as much as 4 million rubles ($50,000).

The Wikimedia Basis didn’t instantly reply to an e-mail from Ars in search of remark. However the group made its stance plain final month after the Russian authorities made related calls for. A March 3 assertion on the Wikimedia web site declared that “we is not going to again down within the face of efforts to censor and intimidate members of our motion.”

When Russia invaded Ukraine, the federal government tightened its already strict media censorship regime. In early March, President Vladimir Putin signed laws prohibiting the publication of “faux information.” Violators might face jail phrases of so long as 15 years. Passage of the legislation led various Western media organizations to droop reporting in Russia.

Russian media is prohibited from describing the invasion of Ukraine as an invasion or a warfare; “particular army operation” is the popular euphemism. Russia blocked entry to Fb, Twitter, and various Western media shops in March.

Roskomnadzor warned Wikipedia final week to cease “misinforming Russian customers.” In a Tuesday assertion, the company complained that “Wikipedia has change into a brand new line of fixed data assaults on Russians.”

“The authors of articles posted on Wikipedia intentionally misinform customers of the Web useful resource with false data,” the company wrote. “Within the articles revealed on the useful resource, an completely anti-Russian interpretation of occasions is promoted.”

In latest days, the Russian army has confronted outrage for atrocities it allegedly dedicated as troops evacuated positions close to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. Proof consists of civilian our bodies discovered mendacity within the streets of the Ukrainian city of Bucha. The Russian authorities claims images from Bucha had been staged by Ukraine.

Roskomnadzor has additionally been feuding with YouTube, one of many few Western platforms nonetheless accessible in Russia. On March 29, Roskomnadzor stated that YouTube “has change into one of many key platforms taking part within the data warfare in opposition to Russia.” The federal government not solely complained about supposed misinformation on YouTube; it additionally demanded that YouTube reinstate channels owned by the Russian authorities and state-funded Russian media. YouTube shut down various channels belonging to RT and different state-funded media on March 11.

Final month, Belarus, certainly one of Russia’s closest allies within the Ukraine invasion, arrested one of the prolific editors of the Russian-language model of Wikipedia. He had made greater than 200,000 edits to Russian Wikipedia over a decade and had been energetic in debates over articles in regards to the Ukraine invasion.

Tim Lee was on workers at Ars from 2017 to 2021. In 2021, he launched Full Stack Economics, an unbiased e-mail e-newsletter in regards to the financial system, know-how, and public coverage. You’ll be able to subscribe to his e-newsletter right here.



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