Russia Censorship News: Russia Lifts Ban On Wikipedia


Wikipedia is back up in Russia, after having been briefly banned over contentious content on a page about charas (hash).

The site was made accesible to the public again on August 25. Russia's censorship organization, Roskomnadzor, had revealed that the decision to lift the ban was motivated by the fact that the content they took issue with had been edited out of the page. Interestingly enough, that is not quite the truth as the Guardian reports that the page stands as it was, as confirmed by the Wikipedia editors.

Andrei Soldatov, a journalist who has heavily researched this trend and the nature of the internet in Russia, told Guardian that the Roskomnadzor is not sure of its course of action. 

"This is an important case because it's part of the general offensive against https. Roskomnadzor and the FSB [security services] don't know what to do with it," he said.

The Roskomnadzor had previously made an official announcement threatening Wikipedia that the entire website would be blocked if requisite action wasn't taken to correct the page on charas.

"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."  

This came on the heels of another ridiculous instance of an online forum being banned and for similar reasons. Reddit has been briefly banned in Russia over a contentious post about easy ways of growing hallucinogenic mushrooms.

The Federal Drug Control Service decided to take action against the social media website taking issue with the content of a certain post titled, "Minimal and Reliable Methods for Growing Psilocybe [Mushrooms]."

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