As of recently, Russia intended to restrict Wikipedia content over an illegal drug article but removed the ban early Tuesday morning, according to the New York Times. This would have meant that Russia’s population would have been denied access to the online encyclopedia, due to one of its articles which writes about cannabis-related content. It is widely known that cannabis use is prohibited in Russia.
Roskomnadzor, the Russian communications watchdog, had urged Internet providers to block an article written in Russian about cannabis. Moreover, because of Roskomnadzor’s intention, the entire website would have become restricted to approximately 33 million Russian users, as it isn’t actually possible to block a single report without banning the entire online encyclopedia. This is due to Wikipedia’s secure communications protocol.
Everything started due to a complaint from a Chyorny Yar village resident (located in southern Russia) that was appalled by a Wikipedia entry regarding cannabis. To be more precise, the debate revolved around a specific variant of cannabis, charas, despite the fact that Chyrony Yar displayed no fields of cannabis and no issues with drug abuse. A Wikipedia entry also states that this form of cannabis grew in very distant regions from Russia, to be more precise in: Jamaica, India and Pakistan, for instance.
Vadim Ampelonskiy, spokesperson for Roskmonadzor, said that had been persuading Wikipedia’s Russian leaders to comply with the country’s lawful implications. However, it seems that they initially failed and would have proceeded to ban the famous encyclopedia’s entire information.
The Russian watchdog was able to deny access to more serious, utterly harmful and morally inadequate websites’ content, including child pornography, or pages that promote suicide, extremism and drug use, respectively. So it seems that this time everything revolved around drug-related information.
Furthermore, a recent decision which was implemented by the Russian Internet content regulators was banning Reddit, over an article that explained how hallucinogenic mushrooms and marijuana were cultivated, and also some of Youtube’s content, on the same grounds.
Stas Koslovskiy, spokesman for Russia’s Wikipedia staff, argued that the article wasn’t about drug propaganda, but rather an informative, educational one.
Koslovkiy finally pointed out that Wikipedia had been taken by surprise and hadn’t initially decided what actions to take regarding this issue. But it seems everything turned out OK for Wikipedia after all. And now, Wikipedia enthusiasts can enjoy once again its content.
Photo Credits adigaskell.org