The online encyclopedia Wikipedia has always been at the center of political debates because 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.
Powerful Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor has a lot on its plate these days: the agency is also tasked with reporting only the “truth” appropriate to Putin’s regime. This is especially true at the time of the Russian attack on Ukraine. At the end of April, for example, Roskomnadzor and then a court sentenced the Wikimedia Foundationwho stands behind Wikipedia, to a fine of five million rubles, or nearly 81,000 euros.
The reason for this is alleged disinformation about the war with Ukraine, which can be found or was on Wikipedia. But Wikimedia does not want to accept this condemnation lightly and has appealed to a Moscow court. As The edge reports, the foundation claims, among other things, that the articles in question contain “substantiated and proven knowledge”.
War and war crimes
In concrete terms, this is a total of seven articles which generally deal with the attack on Ukraine, but also with certain alleged war crimes committed by the Russian armed forces, including the bombing of the Mariupol maternity hospital and the Bucha massacre.
The Roskomnadzor is based on a “fake news” law, which essentially prohibits any coverage of the war that deviates from the official portrayal of Putin’s regime. “This decision implies that well-researched and verified information on Wikipedia that is inconsistent with Russian government statements constitutes disinformation,” Wikimedia lawyer Stephen LaPorte said.
“The government has targeted information that is vital to people in times of crisis. We ask the court to overturn the decision in favor of everyone’s right to access to knowledge and freedom of expression. However, one wonders if Wikimedia really believes it can oppose Russian censorship.
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