Russia bans Wikipedia over cannabis article

Russian communications body Roskomnadzor has ordered all ISPs in the country to block access to Wikipedia, ostensibly over the appearance of an article on the Russian language version of the site discussing cannabis preparation.

The Russian version of Wikipedia has grown to encompass in excess of one million articles which collectively generate over a billion page views every month.

In a statement handed to TechCrunch the Wikipedia Foundation said: “We first learned about a possible block last week, when Roskomnadzor issued a notice regarding an article on Russian Wikipedia about charas, a form of cannabis. The notice stated that the article contained information on how to prepare the substance. The notice directed Wikipedia to remove the article.”

In an effort to resolve the impasse Russian Wikipedia editors are investigating ways of including additional information and citations to the offending article which meets the concerns of Roskomnadzor whilst maintaining Wikipedia’s commitment to free access to knowledge.

The blacklisting follows hot on the heels of a similar threat made against Reddit, which was subsequently rescinded when the site backed down. Defiant Russian Wikipedia editors have refused to kowtow to the Russian government however.

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