[Foundation-l] Wikimedia Foundation applauds IWF decision to reverse Wikipedia censorship in the United Kingdom

Jay Walsh jwalsh at wikimedia.org
Wed Dec 10 00:01:00 UTC 2008

We're quite pleased to share this information with you.  This press  
release was distributed a few hours ago - we now have the news posted  
on the WMF wiki and we've updated the blog.

Thanks are owed to many volunteers who spoke to the media and spread  
the word about this situation, as well as those who have been working  
on these and similar issues for quite some time.  Thank you for  
helping to make this possible!


Jay Walsh
Head of Communications
+1 (415) 839 6885 x 609

> 'Wikimedia Foundation applauds IWF decision to reverse Wikipedia  
> censorship in the United Kingdom'
> Removal from Internet blacklist will also allow UK Wikipedians to  
> resume editing
> San Francisco CA, December 9 - Earlier today the Internet Watch  
> Foundation (IWF), a non-profit agency tasked with preventing access  
> to potentially illegal internet content, reversed its ruling earlier  
> this week that prevented over 95% of UK internet users from  
> accessing an article about an album by a German rock band, The  
> Scorpions. As a result, UK Wikipedia users were unable to access all  
> of the editing functions on Wikipedia. With this decision, the IWF  
> has removed Wikipedia from its internet 'blacklist.'
> "We are grateful to the IWF for making this swift decision, and to  
> thousands of internet users from around the world for their  
> outpouring of support," said Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the  
> Wikimedia Foundation. "Millions of Britons now have access to all of  
> Wikipedia, and volunteers can resume their important editing work.  
> The Wikimedia Foundation greatly admires the work of our volunteers  
> - they care deeply about Wikipedia and are the first responders in  
> dealing with potentially illegal content on Wikipedia." Gardner  
> added that both the Foundation and its community of users "work hard  
> to be responsive and responsible when it comes to legitimate legal  
> concerns."
> Mike Godwin, General Counsel for the Wikimedia Foundation stated:  
> "We recognize the good intentions of Internet watch groups,  
> including their focus on blocking and discouraging illegal content.  
> Nevertheless, this incident underscores the need for transparency  
> and accountability in the processes of the Internet Watch Foundation  
> and similar bodies around the world."
> Added Godwin, "In the long run, monitoring groups need to develop a  
> public set of 'best practices.' These best practices should, at a  
> minimum, decrease the impact on content found to be lawful,  
> acknowledge the context in which the content at issue occurs, and be  
> maximally transparent both to service providers and to individual  
> users. There should be no false or misleading error messages when  
> online censorship does occur."
> The Wikimedia Foundation had criticized the the lack of transparency  
> in the IWF's decision making and appeal process, as well as the  
> suspension of editing functions that resulted following the  
> censorship. UK Wikipedia editors account for over 25% of all editing  
> activity on the English Wikipedia.
> The Wikimedia Foundation is open to dialog on these issues with the  
> IWF and other Internet watch groups.
> Wikipedia, the fourth most-visited website in the world, is funded  
> in large part by donations from its users. The Wikimedia Foundation  
> is in the midst of its fifth global giving campaign. For more  
> information, visit http://donate.wikimedia.org
> 'About the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikipedia'
> wikimediafoundation.org
> wikipedia.org
> The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization which  
> operates Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. According to comScore,  
> Wikipedia and the other projects operated by the Wikimedia  
> Foundation receive more than 270 million unique visitors per month,  
> making them the 4th most popular web property world-wide. Available  
> in more than 265 languages, Wikipedia provides more than 11 million  
> articles contributed by a global volunteer community of more than  
> 100,000 people. Based in San Francisco, California, the Wikimedia  
> Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) charity that is funded primarily  
> through donations and grants.
> ---
> For more information, contact:
> Jay Walsh
> Head of Communications
> Wikimedia Foundation
> jwalsh at wikimedia.org
> +1 415-839-6885, ext 609
> http://blog.wikimedia.org/
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