Russian media watchdog lifts ban on Wikipedia

Russian media watchdog lifts ban on Wikipedia

25 August 2015

Russian internet regulator Roskomnadzor has lifted its ban on the Russian-language version of Wikipedia, less than 24 hours after blocking the site.

Roskomnadzor restricted access to the online encyclopedia yesterday, after the website management refused to comply with the media watchdog’s request regarding information relating to the drug charas hashish. Several Russian internet service providers started restricting access to the Russian-language Wikipedia site after Roskomnadzor added it to its internet blacklist. Some internet users found the site banned entirely, while for others it was available, with a message from the website explaining how to sidestep a ban if it did come into place.

In a statement today, Roskomnadzor announced that the offending article had been modified enough to comply with the June decision of a local court, which ruled that information regarding preparation of charas hashish was in violation of Russian law. Representatives from Wikipedia, however, stated that the page remained the same.

Although this development represents the alleviation of what had threatened to be the most high-profile casualty of Russian internet censorship, it has also served to increase concern about a wider crackdown on internet freedom in Russia.