Russia is back at censoring the Internet, this time banning Wikipedia after the government got wind of a Wiki page that reportedly gave instructions on how to make the drug hashish.

Russia's Roskomnadzor agency, the governing body responsible for supervising and controlling the media, officially banned the encyclopedia of the Internet after demanding that Wikipedia remove the page about a form of cannabis known as hash.

The Wiki page featured information about charas, the name for the drug hashish, which is homemade in India from the resin of the cannabis plant. The distribution of illegal drug-related information is prohibited in Russia, and since the page allegedly included instructions on how readers could make their very own, the government pulled the plug on the website after it denied to comply with the watchdog agency demands to take the page down.

Roskomnadzor, Russia's FCC, first asked Wikipedia to remove the article, threatening that they would block the entire website, but the site refused since the demand "runs contrary to the Wikimedia Vision: a world in which everyone can freely access the sum of all knowledge," the Wikimedia Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports Wikipedia, said in a statement.

The Russian government could not simply ban that single page, censoring it themselves because Wikipedia uses HTTPS for secure communications, which means it would have to ban the entire site.

As a consequence, Roskomnadzor officials ordered Internet providers to block Wikipedia after the court ruled that the page included banned information.

However, the New York Times reported that the Wikipedia ban was lifted on Tuesday, after the charas Wiki was reportedly edited. Internet users revealed that Wikipedia only edited the title of the page, not the actually entry. Still, by complying with the court's decision, the website has officially been removed from the country's list of banned websites.

This is not the first time Russia cracked down on drug-related information on the Internet. Russia previously banned Reddit (which also uses HTTPS) after a user posted about psychedelic magic mushrooms. The site was banned because Russia's FCC found it be promoting the use of drugs. Reddit later complied to remove the post, and the site was back a few hours later.

Russian Wikipedia has more than a billion page views a month and features more than a million articles.

Via: Sputnik News

Photo: M. Martin Vicente | Flickr

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