Wikipedia has temporarily blocked access to most of its Russian-language site in protest of the proposed legislation in Russia to censor the internet.
On Tuesday, visitors to ru.wikipedia.org were greeted with a black censorship bar over the website’s logo and a message telling them to envision a world without free access to knowledge.
According to the Russian Wikipedia site, the proposed amendments are similar to China’s hyper-restrictive firewall. If passed, the proposed changes could permanently cut off access to the portal.
“Lobbyists and activists who support the given amendments are claiming that they are directed exclusively against content like child pornography ‘and the like’, but according to presented reports and statements, a prototype of ‘The Great Firewall of China’ will be created in Russia”, said Wikipedia.
“Given the precedent, there’s a good chance access to Wikipedia will be denied across the country”.
Based on recent media reports, the proposed amendments will allow the government to blacklist certain sites in order to protect internet users from harmful portals such as those that promote drug abuse and child pornography.
RT.com, a Russian news portal that receives state funding, reported that the proposed amendments include “stricter provisions for parental guidance ratings for content” and a black list provision.
“The Russian bill currently under discussion in parliament seeks to introduce a non-governmental Internet watchdog, which would monitor the Web for potentially harmful content and request hosting companies to restrict access to the marked pages. If this is not done, the page would be blacklisted”.