In yet another blow against open internet in Russia, authorities banned Wikipedia today, ostensibly over drug-related content.
Officially, this is about a Wikipedia page essentially explaining how to make charas, a kind of cannabis. Kremlin’s surveillance authority Roskomnadzor has been trying to get the page removed, threatening to ban the whole website unless it complied.
Roskomnadzor released the following statement, according to Russian news site Meduza:
In the event that Wikipedia refuses to comply with the court's ruling, [we] will block the webpage on Russian territory using the registry of illegal information.
But Wikipedia refuses to remove individual pages unless prompted by users to do so, and so the ban on the site came into effect across Russia today.
This isn’t the first time Russian authorities have exercised internet censorship, having briefly banned Reddit earlier this summer. Russian internet activists are calling the ban an attack on freedom of expression.
With 25 blocked articles in Russia, Wikipedia already features heavily on its own page listing “internet censorship in Russia”. As of today, though, it seems as though the entire website will need to become part of this list.