The Russian-language segment of Wikipedia, the world’s largest free on-line encyclopedia, temporarily suspended its work on Tuesday night in protest against a bill proposing creation of a blacklist of all websites containing banned content.
The site is expected to be closed for 24 hours. There is a special banner on the main site's page, which explains some dangerous aspects of the bill and leads to the page with detailed information about it.
“Wikipedia community protests against censorship, which threatens free knowledge opened for the mankind,” Wikipedia says in its official statement. Earlier the website's officials explained that, according to the new law, they will probably will have to close such articles as "Suicide", "Potassium Hypermanganate" and many others.
The draft ¹89417-6 was supported by all four party factions in the State Duma and passed in the first reading on July 6. The second reading will be held on Tuesday, July 10. The draft was criticized by civil rights activists, Internet providers and websites' owners as an attempt to introduce censorship of the Russian segment of the Internet (RuNet).
If the draft comes into force it will allow to run the unified roster of banned websites. Special federal agencies will have the right to to add items to the blacklist, as will the courts, which already have the authority to ban extremist and other types of content that violates Russian legislation. The idea for the draw initially came from Russia’s League of Internet Security as a part of a big fight against on-line pornography, pedophilia and propaganda of extremism.
However, the idea's opponents say the bill cannot be an effective tool for rooting out the illegal content, but at the same time it can be a perfect tool for closing opposition and protest sites with a content aimed at the criticism of some government's decisions.
On January 18, almost all segments of Wikipedia went offline for 24 hours in a protest action against U.S. anti-piracy legislation that could lead to censorship. As a result of "blackout" protests on thousands of Internet sites, the U.S. Congress has postponed the vote on two controversial bills until issues raised about them were resolved.
Author: Julia Alieva