The online encyclopedia Wikipedia has always been at the center of political debates as truth is often a flexible term, especially when defined by dictatorships. Russia currently has a problem with that too, of course, it’s about the war in Ukraine.
The powerful Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor has a lot to do these days: The agency is also responsible for reporting only the “truth” appropriate to the Putin regime. This is especially true at the moment of the Russian attack on Ukraine. At the end of April, for example, Roskomnadzor and subsequently a court sentenced the Wikimedia Foundation, which stands behind Wikipedia, to a fine of five million rubles, or almost 81,000 euros.
The reason is alleged misinformation about the war with Ukraine, which can be found or was on Wikipedia. But Wikimedia does not want to accept this sentence lightly and has appealed to a Moscow court. As The Verge reports, the foundation states, among other things, that the articles in question contain “founded, tested knowledge”.
War and War Crimes
In concrete terms, this concerns a total of seven articles that generally deal with the attack on Ukraine, but also individual alleged war crimes committed by the Russian armed forces, including the bombing of the maternity hospital in Mariupol and the massacre in Bucha.
The Roskomnadzor is based on a “fake news” law, which essentially bans any coverage of the war that deviates from the official portrayal of the Putin regime. “This decision implies that well-researched, verified knowledge on Wikipedia that does not conform to the statements of the Russian government constitutes disinformation,” said Wikimedia attorney Stephen LaPorte.
“The government has targeted information that is vital for people in times of crisis. We call on the court to reverse the ruling in favor of everyone’s right to access knowledge and freedom of expression.” However, it is questionable whether Wikimedia really believes they can oppose the Russian censorship state.
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