Belfast Telegraph

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Wikipedia ban cancelled in Russia amid drugs information row

Published 25/08/2015

The Russian version of Wikipedia was briefly banned in the country
The Russian version of Wikipedia was briefly banned in the country

Russia has cancelled a ban on the Russian-language version of Wikipedia after just a few hours.

The Russian communications watchdog sent out notifications to Internet providers late on Monday, instructing them to block access to Wikipedia in Russian after a provincial court ruled that an entry about drugs contains banned information.

Internet users across Russia reported in the late hours of Monday that they were not able to access Wikipedia's Russian version.

The agency removed Wikipedia from the list of banned websites early on Tuesday morning, saying the information in the article had been edited to comply with the court decision.

Internet users noted that Wikipedia did not appear to have edited the entry but only renamed its title.

Recent laws passed in Russia which classified as "banned" any information about drug use, suicide and anything that could be interpreted as inciting hatred have allowed authorities to clamp down on dissent and block access to any website.

Russia's Federal Communications Agency has come under fire before for what has been described as attempts to stifle dissent online. The agency has blocked access to opposition websites as well as blogs of popular opposition leaders like Alexei Navalny.

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