As per a recent report, it seems that Russia will not ban Wikipedia. Please take in mind, that this is a “not yet”. So it is clear that, in the future, the court can opt for a full ban on the online encyclopedia. The minister of digital affairs said on Tuesday as a Moscow court applied another fine to the platform. Wikipedia is “failing” to remove certain content that Russia deems illegal. Despite the failure, the platform will remain alive in the country, for now.
Right now, Wikipedia stands alone as one of the few surviving independent sources of info in Russia. The country started a massive inquisition on online content after the beginning of the war with Ukraine. Although Russia never was one of the most open countries to independent media, the regulation went wild with the war. Since Wikipedia has content that, in theory, anyone can create or edit, it’s hard for Russia to control the information available on the platform. One can consider Russia’s actions an invasion, but Russia can think otherwise.
“We are not blocking Wikipedia yet, there are no such plans for now”
Wikipedia said in an emailed statement it would “continue to provide access to the platform for Russian speakers around the world who find value in the site”. Despite this, the country still applied a fine on the platform. The court fined Wikipedia Owner Wikimedia Foundation over 800,000 roubles ($9,777) for what Russian agencies said were a failure to remove info. This particular case has not much to do with the war… In Russia’s vision, there was a post that was allegedly promoting train hopping. It’s where a person rides on the side or top of a train.
Wikimedia states that its info is well-sourced and in line with Wikipedia standards. But since it refused to remove the content, the fine came.
Gizchina News of the week
Russia goes on a holy war against online platforms – Wikipedia is free, at least for now
For the time being, it seems that Wikipedia will still stand as a source of info for Russians. The country tried for years to launch its own online encyclopedia, but so far has failed in this venture. Similarly, we saw Russia trying to launch its own YouTube in the country but failed. Curiously, YouTube [remains alive in the country, while most of the other foreign social media have been blocked. Despite this, the video website is also a target of sanctions and is bringing fines to Google. Recently, the court ordered Google to pay 1 billion roubles for blocking the Duma TV YouTube Channel. Google is yet to respond to the case. Worth noting that the country also banned foreign authorities’ websites, for obvious reasons.
Google at the center of regulators
Another regulator was also seeking to fine Google up to 4 million roubles. The reason? It refuses to remove content banned in Russia. The case will be heard by the court on April 20. Considering the bias in the court, we assume that the fine will reach Google pretty soon. Russia has been in a holy war against foreign platforms on the web. The company fined Amazon’s Twitch 4 million roubles for failing to delete “false info” about Moscow’s campaign.
Another case involved Google’s Russian subsidiary. The company fined this firm in whopping 21.7 billion roubles for repeated failure to delete info related to the war in Ukraine. That fine was too much for the subsidiary that filed for bankruptcy after authorities seized its bank account. Google no longer supports commercial operations in the country, but the free services are still available. That is apart from the services that Russia banned.
Right now, it seems that Russia will not ban Wikipedia probably because it still needs the platform. This is something that can change in the future, if Wikipedia keeps going against Russian demands, we are pretty sure it will need to say goodbye or suffer with higher and higher fines.