[Advocacy Advisors] Russian blacklist

Stephen LaPorte slaporte at wikimedia.org
Fri Apr 5 18:30:26 UTC 2013

Hello all,

For your information, here are news stories about blocked access to Russian
Wikipedia. If you are following any discussions in the RU Wikipedia
community, I am interested to hear more.


Russia May Block Wikipedia Access Over Narcotics Article
RIA Novosti.

20:09 05/04/2013

MOSCOW, April 5 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian-language division of Wikipedia,
the world’s largest free online encyclopedia, has received notification
from the state media and communications watchdog Roskomnadzor that part of
its content has been included on an Internet blacklist.

The notification says that a Wikipedia article titled “Smoking Cannabis”
includes information on the methods of extraction, production and
consumption of narcotics.

The site’s administrators must remove all banned content within 24 hours of
receiving the notification, otherwise the hosting provider is obliged to
block access to Russian-language Wikipedia in Russia. If the provider fails
to do this, the network operator will block access to the website, the
notification said.

Internet censorship became a topic of heated online debate in Russia after
a new law came into force last year allowing extrajudicial blacklisting of
web content deemed to be promoting suicide, pedophilia or drug use.

Last July, the Russian-language division of Wikipedia temporarily suspended
its work in protest against this law, which was at that time a bill
proposing a unified digital blacklist of all websites containing banned

English-language Wikipedia went offline for 24 hours in a similar protest
on January 18 in a protest against U.S. anti-piracy legislation that
critics say could lead to censorship. As a result of "blackout" protests on
thousands of internet sites, the U.S. Congress postponed the vote on two
controversial bills until issues raised about them can be resolved.

Russian media regulator confirms Wikipedia blacklisted
Russia Beyond the Headlines

18:50 April 5, 2013 Interfax

Russia's telecommunications and media sector regulator has confirmed that
it has Wikipedia on its blacklist of websites.

"It has been on the register [of sites with banned information] for a long
time. I don't know why it's only now that they've woken up," Vladimir
Pikov, spokesman for the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of
Telecommunications, Information Technologies and Mass Communications
(Roskomnadzor), told Interfax.

However, "we are interested in cooperation, and we have made this clear
more than once," he said.

Earlier, the Twitter microblog of Wikipedia's Russian version carried the
tweet: "It's happened finally - we've been put on the black list (twice?)
for the article 'Cannabis smoking."

Stephen LaPorte
Legal Counsel
Wikimedia Foundation

*For legal reasons, I may only serve as an attorney for the Wikimedia
Foundation. This means I may not give legal advice to or serve as a lawyer
for community members, volunteers, or staff members in their personal
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