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Wikipedia Avoids Closure In Russia

  • RFE/RL

Russia's media watchdog Roskomnadzor has excluded a Wikipedia article from a blacklist, ending the threat of a possible closure of the Russian version of the website in the country.

Roskomnadzor announced its decision on August 25, a day after it ordered Internet providers to block access to a page on Russian Wikipedia because it contained banned information on a type of cannabis.

Wikimedia RU, the organization that supports the local version of Wikipedia, had said that the move could lead to the Russian-language version of Wikipedia becoming totally inaccessible, adding that providers cannot block separate pages on the same site.

Developers of the Russian version of Wikipedia posted a black banner at the top of the webpage saying the website could be blocked "in the near future."

Roskomnadzor said on August 25 that the article in question had been edited and excluded from the register of banned information.

Since President Vladimir Putin returned to the Kremlin in 2012, Russia has passed legislation banning sites that contain child pornography, drug-related or militant material, or which advocate suicide.

Critics say the legislation restricts Internet freedoms and can lead to bans on more general content, but the government says it is aimed mainly at protecting children from indecent content.

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