Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

News

Russia Threatens Wikipedia With $50K Fine Over Ukrainian War “Misinformation”

Russia’s government has threatened Wikipedia with an approximate $50,000 fine for articles reporting on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Credit: Allmy/ Shutterstock

Russia’s government has threatened Wikipedia with an approximate $50,000 fine for articles reporting on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Last Thursday, Russia’s communications regulator Roskomnadzor announced it notified Wikipedia to remove a page titled “Russia’s Invasion in Ukraine (2022).” The page in question cites data by the United Nations as well as injuries and fatalities experienced by both Russians and Ukrainians during the invasion.

Roskomnadzor described the information as “unreliable” and “illegal,” and accused Wikipedia of intentionally misinforming Russian users.

The group threatened Wikipedia with a fine of 4 million rubles, or about £36,900/$48,300, for failing to remove the section on its Russian version of the site. Russia’s threats also demanded that words such as war, aggression, and invasion be removed from the section.

Censorship

The recent announcement followed after Roskomnadzor sent two separate warnings on March 1st and 31st to the Wikimedia Foundation, which owns and operates Wikipedia.

Following the first takedown notice, The Wikimedia Foundation released a statement arguing the demand “threatened censorship.” In their release, the foundation also added that denying people access to reliable information at a time of crisis could force “life-altering consequences.”

“Wikipedia is an important source of reliable, factual information in this crisis. In recognition of this important role, we will not back down in the face of efforts to censor and intimidate members of our movement. We stand by our mission to deliver free knowledge to the world.”

As of March 3rd, Wikipedia’s English-language version of the page had been viewed more than 11 million times, and articles about the war had been created in more than 99 languages.

Wikipedia sources and shares its information with help from volunteers. Last month, The Wikimedia Foundation announced Ukrainian volunteers were continuing to make additions and edits to the encyclopedia even as the war in their country unfolded.

“The Wikimedia Foundation supports everyone’s fundamental right to access free, open, and verifiable information; this escalation does not change our commitment,” said a spokesperson to NPR.

According to the website’s spokesperson, Wikipedia continues to improve, verify and fact-check its website’s content with “an ever-growing number of Wikipedia volunteer editors.”

“Fake News”

Wikipedia isn’t the only information platform facing threats from Russia. Likewise, Roskomnadzor threatened Google with a potential fine of 8 million rubles, or more than $93,000, for not removing YouTube videos on the war.

A Russian court also banned Meta’s Facebook and Instagram for “carrying out extremist activities,” i.e. loosening its policies on hate speech directed at Vladimir Putin and Russian soldiers regarding the country’s war in Ukraine. Meta later clarified that its lax restrictions only applied to posts made inside Ukraine.

Russia has begun to tighten down on domestic information critiquing or reporting on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Intentionally spreading what Russia deems “fake news” about its military could be punished with 15 years in prison.

Following this new law, many independent news outlets have been forced to close down or, in the case of some like the Moscow Times, flee the country. Since several international news organizations have departed Russia.

The US State Department condemned Moscow’s efforts to keep Russians from knowing the truth about the invasion of Ukraine.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in several video statements:

“Despite the Kremlin’s attempts to keep them in the dark, the people of Russia continue to seek out independent information sources. We will continue to share the truth with the people of Russia. [President Vladimir] Putin chose this war. The people of Russia didn’t. They have the right to know about the death, suffering, and destruction being inflicted by their government and military on the people of Ukraine.”

Written By

Dharma is a writer and creator based in San Diego.

Advertisement
Advertisement

You May Also Like

News

25 is the new 18 when it comes to reaching full frontal lobe maturity.

News

Trump’s radical views on transgender rights if re-elected.

News

Cive Stafford Smith, human rights lawyer who has spent over 25 years working on behalf of defendants facing the death penalty in the U.S...

News

Ovidio Guzman, son of Mexican drug lord 'El Chapo', was finally captured. In a bedroom, nearly 50 weapons were found. Amongst these was an...

News

Japan’s birth rate has collapsed over the past 40 years with under 800,000 children born in 2022 – the lowest since records began.   

News

The USA has reached lowest numbers in a decade for interested people considering migrating.

News

ChatGPT is an AI software that is causing a storm. It is an online model of code that has the ability to produce conversations...

News

A Mexican gray wolf named Asha was captured by The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish this week. Read about her controversial trek.

News

By offering them in exchange for taking their pledge against hatred, UF Hillel is fighting antisemitism one bagel at a time.

News

Moving forward, Republican voters and lawmakers must define "pro-life" for their party.

News

In 2020, over an alleged incident with his girlfriend, Mr. Roiland was charged with one count of domestic battery with corporal injury and one...