Russia threatens to fine Wikipedia if it doesn’t delete ‘false information’

Roskomnadzor, the Russian communications regulator, demanded that Wikipedia remove “content with incorrect information of public interest” concerning the situation in Ukraine on Tuesday.

Wikipedia, according to the regulator, is presenting incorrect information about Russia’s “special operation” in Ukraine, as well as Russian military actions.

The owner of an Internet resource who does not delete illegal information when ordered by Roskomnadzor can be penalized up to 4 million roubles ($48,120.30), according to Russian law.

On February 24, Russia pushed tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine, provoking furious Ukrainian opposition and Western sanctions.

The regulator accused the website of distributing false information to Russian users on purpose. According to NPR news, Roskomnadzor has warned that if Wikipedia does not remove the information, it might face a punishment of up to 4 million rubles (Rs 35,97,450).

Last month, Russia passed legislation making it illegal to report on the conflict in a way that contradicts the Kremlin’s version of events, including labeling it a war. Most of Russia’s surviving independent news sources have been forced to close as a result of the law.

Furthermore, many journalists have fled the nation for fear of serving up to 15 years in prison, according to NPR news. According to the report, the Wikipedia page in question includes information about the war’s history and context, as well as specific military operations, casualties and humanitarian consequences, human rights violations, judicial processes, international response, economic consequences, and media portrayals.

The announcement comes after Roskomnadzor issued two separate warnings to the Wikimedia Foundation, which owns and operates the encyclopedia.

According to a foundation spokesman, the foundation received requests to remove content from the Russian-language version of the page concerning the invasion on March 1 and again on March 29. According to NPR news, The Wikimedia Foundation respects everyone’s fundamental right to access free, open, and reliable information; this escalation does not undermine our commitment.

It’s worth noting that the Ukrainian government last month urged residents to fight the enemy “digitally” in order to oppose their actions. A smartphone and Internet connection, according to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, could be used as weapons in the digital realm. It promised that the adversary might be eliminated from anywhere on the planet. In addition, at the request and with the help of the Ukrainian government, Google launched a quick Air Raid Alerts system for Android phones in Ukraine.