Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Wikipedia Gets Banned In Russia Over Charas/Hash Pages

Following the directions of a Russian watchdog company, the internet providers in the country were forced to block access to Wikipedia after the website hosted a page about hash/charas. Roskomnadzor, a federal body that controls electronic media, notified that the website would remain blocked unless the page was removed.

The row between Wikipedia and the Russian authorities started off in a village in Southern Russia, called Chyorny Yar. It remains unclear as to why Wikipedia was asked to take down the page, given how Russia wasn’t even mentioned in the article. The entry on Wikipedia said: “charas is a hashish form of cannabis which is handmade in India, Lebanon, Pakistan, Nepal and Jamaica.”

Roskomnadzor claims that the website shed light on the preparation and the use of Charas, following which, Wikipedia was asked to take down the page. Wikipedia, however, refused to follow the orders.

Roskomnadzor was quick to react, listing the website as banned, with most parts of Russia unable to access Wikipedia earlier this week. The ban did not last for very long after a statement emerged from Roskomnadzor, claiming that Wikipedia had given-in, and edited the article regarding Charas, removing the website off the official block list.

After the ban was lifted, Wikimedia, the website that runs Wikipedia, claimed that the company had already taken care of the page after its editors made all necessary changes, although those were still not deemed satisfactory by the authorities.

This isn’t the first time Russian authorities have blocked a website in the country. It wasn’t long ago when Russia blocked access to Reddit due to a subreddit about psychedelic mushrooms.
The Tech Zone
The Tech Zone

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