Russia has fined Wikipedia for spreading misinformation after Wikipedia failed to erase five problematic articles.
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On Tuesday, a Moscow court issued the very first fine on Wikimedia Commons, the operator of the Wikipedia portal. The charity was convicted of neglecting to erase articles that were regarded to be illegal under Russian legislation. The majority of the data was classed as disseminating misinformation about Russia’s military as well as its activities during the current conflict in Ukraine.
After the website failed to erase five problematic articles, the court fined it 3 million rubles (about $40,200). Wikimedia’s legal team stated that if the prosecution thought the articles were breaking Russian law, they could have changed it themselves.
During the proceedings, a lawyer argued, “If the prosecutor believes that something is wrong in these publications, he could have come and made edits.”
In a subsequent ruling later that day, the same court fined the platform an additional 2 million rubles (about $26,800) for failing to erase an additional three pieces. One was also about the Russian military and the conflict in Ukraine, while the other two were about explosives.
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Following Ukraine’s refusal to fulfill the provisions of the Minsk agreements, signed in 2014, and Moscow’s ultimate recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, Russia ordered an offensive on its neighbor. The Minsk Protocols, mediated by Germany and France, were intended to grant the separatist areas special status within the Ukrainian state.
Since then, the Kremlin has demanded that Ukraine declare itself a neutral country that will never join the NATO military alliance led by the United States. Kiev believes the Russian offensive was unprovoked and refutes suggestions that it planned to seize the two republics by force.