Russia May Block Wikipedia Access Over Narcotics Article

MOSCOW, April 5 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian-language division of Wikipedia, the world’s largest free online encyclopedia, has received notification from the state media and communications watchdog Roskomnadzor that part of its content has been included on an Internet blacklist.

The notification says that a Wikipedia article titled “Smoking Cannabis” includes information on the methods of extraction, production and consumption of narcotics.

The site’s administrators must remove all banned content within 24 hours of receiving the notification, otherwise the hosting provider is obliged to block access to Russian-language Wikipedia in Russia. If the provider fails to do this, the network operator will block access to the website, the notification said.

Internet censorship became a topic of heated online debate in Russia after a new law came into force last year allowing extrajudicial blacklisting of web content deemed to be promoting suicide, pedophilia or drug use.

Last July, the Russian-language division of Wikipedia temporarily suspended its work in protest against this law, which was at that time a bill proposing a unified digital blacklist of all websites containing banned content.

English-language Wikipedia went offline for 24 hours in a similar protest on January 18 in a protest against U.S. anti-piracy legislation that critics say could lead to censorship. As a result of “blackout” protests on thousands of internet sites, the U.S. Congress postponed the vote on two controversial bills until issues raised about them can be resolved.


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