For the past two years, Turkish authorities have blocked access to
Wikipedia across all languages -- the most expansive form of blocking of
Wikipedia ever imposed.
During that time, the Wikimedia Foundation has been working to lift the
block through many different efforts, including legal action in Turkish
courts, good faith conversations with Turkish authorities, and speaking
directly to the public to raise awareness of the block and its impact on
both Turkey and the rest of the world. Recently, we have also seen China
censor Wikipedia across all languages to the same extent.
Therefore, we are announcing today that we have filed a petition in the
European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the international court hearing
cases of human rights violations within the Council of Europe, in order to
lift the more than two-year block of Wikipedia in Turkey.
In our filing, we argue that denying access to Wikipedia violates
fundamental freedoms of expression—freedoms that have been denied to the
more than 80 million people in Turkey who have been impacted by the block —
but also to the rest of the world, which has lost the perspectives of
residents of the country in contributing, debating, and adding to
Wikipedia. Turkey is a long-standing party of the Convention, which
protects the right to freedom of expression including the right to receive
and share information.
We are making this petition to stand for these fundamental human rights and
freedoms, and to ask the court to order that the Turkish government lift
the block of Wikipedia. You can learn more about our and the ECHR in our
announcement on the Wikimedia Foundation blog:
As part of this filing, we're also inviting Wikimedia affiliates,
communities, and the rest of the world to join us in amplifying the about
this action through a social media campaign. The campaign will focus on
raising awareness of Wikipedia being blocked in Turkey, and educating
people on why we took the step of filing with the ECHR. We will also tie
into the broader narrative around “knowledge is a human right” to make
clear the ECHR filing is one of many steps we need to take to ensure
Wikipedia is accessible to everyone.
We invite you to join us in amplifying the messages of the campaign on
social media and sharing our statement with your networks. More information
on how to participate and translate into your language:
This next action in the ECHR is part of an ongoing, resolute commitment and
strategy to protect everyone’s right to freely access knowledge. While the
focus of our action today is on the block in Turkey, we are also continuing
to explore our options and ways to support our readers and contributors in
China. We have more work to do, but I’m grateful for the steps we can take
today to realize that commitment.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly -- I want to thank the Turkish
community for their continued efforts to stay involved, active, and present
in the Wikimedia projects and global community, despite these adverse
circumstances. We stand with you today in support of your continued efforts
on our projects.
Katherine Maher (she/her)
Wikimedia Foundation <https://wikimediafoundation.org/>