Russia threatens to block Wikipedia over cannabis page

Wikipedia features on its own list of 'what's been censored in Russia'

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The Independent Tech

The Russian government has threatened to ban Wikipedia over a page explaining charas, a hashish type of cannabis.

Roskomnadzor, the Kremlin's internet watchdog, has reportedly written to Wikipedia's administrators saying it will be ban the website in its entirety unless the entry - which basically provides a recipe - is removed.

According to Meduza, which calls itself 'the real Russia Today', Roskomnadzor has issued a statement: "In the event that Wikipedia refuses to comply with the court's ruling, [we] will block the webpage on Russia territory using th registry of illegal information."

The agency explains that it can't just block the one page because of the way Wikipedia's security settings work: "In this case, insofar as Wikipedia has decided to function on the basis of https, which doesn't allow restricting to individual pages on its site, the entire website would be blocked."

'Charas', which is made from the resin of the cannabis plant (Wikimedia)

Apparently a court in the city of Astrakhan ruled earlier this year that the page should be blocked, which would make this the first time a Russian court has banned Wikipedia content.

But this type of internet censorship is not without precedent in Russia, with the Roskomnadzor briefly banning Reddit earlier this month, similarly over drug-related content.

It also outlawed memes earlier this year.

Wikipedia features on the Wikipedia page devoted to 'Internet censorship in Russia' — it says that "as of August 2015, over 25 Wikipedia articles remain blocked in Russia, mostly related to drugs and suicide".

Fortunately, last year Russia began building its own Wikipedia-like site.

We've asked Wikipedia for a comment and will update if and when we get a response