Russia bans entire Wikipedia over drugs article

Governments have been known to take rather drastic steps to protect its citizens from “harmful” content, but Russia seems to be taking things to a new level recently.

Two weeks ago the country locked out web users to Reddit over a single page entry about psychedelic mushrooms, and now it has banned all of Wikipedia over a page about a handmade form of hash from India.

Roskomnadzor, country’s online watchdog, issued a warning over the weekend about the article, and Wikipedia was alerted to the possible banning of the site.

“In the event that [Wikipedia] refuses to comply with the court’s ruling, Roskomnadzor will block the webpage on Russian territory using the registry of illegal information. In this case, insofar as Wikipedia has decided to function on the basis of https, which doesn’t allow restricting access to individual pages on its site, the entire website would be blocked,” the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications said in a statement.

The page was eventually edited to use information sanctioned by the United Nations and was given a new URL, but that wasn’t enough for the state agency, apparently.

“Roscomnadzor has ordered providers to block a page on the Russian Wikipedia website, which contains information on narcotics,” it said.

And since a single page can’t be blocked, the entire Russian language Wikipedia website is dark.

All is not lost here however. Wikipedia could be unblocked in the country if the offending article is removed by Thursday.

[Source – Meduza, image – Charlie Fripp]


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