Russia fines Wikipedia owner for failing to delete Azov battalion content - Ifax

  • World
  • Tuesday, 06 Jun 2023

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian court on Tuesday fined the Wikimedia Foundation, which owns Wikipedia, 3 million roubles ($36,854) for refusing to delete an article on Ukraine's Azov battalion, the Interfax news agency reported.

Wikimedia did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

It has previously said information that Russian authorities complained about was well-sourced and in line with Wikipedia standards.

The Azov battalion, a unit of Ukraine's military, has been designated a terrorist group by Russia.

Wikipedia is one of the few surviving independent sources of information in Russia since a state crackdown on online content intensified after Moscow sent its armed forces into Ukraine.

Russia has said it was not yet planning to block Wikipedia, but has handed the online encyclopaedia a series of fines.

Wikimedia has previously criticised the penalties as "part of an ongoing effort by the Russian government to limit the spread of reliable, well-sourced information in the country".

"We are against such efforts as pressure tactics, and see them as an attempt to use legal liabilities to try to curb free knowledge," the foundation has said.

Russia fined Meta's messenger service WhatsApp for the first time last week for not deleting banned content.

Rakuten Group's messaging app Viber also faces a first-time fine of up to 4 million roubles over content, TASS reported on Tuesday.

($1 = 81.4025 roubles)

(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Louise Heavens and Sriraj Kalluvila)

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