Experts from Russia’s telecoms and drug control regulators have approved new wording of a Wikipedia article on cannabis smoking and will soon remove it from the blacklist of prohibited websites, a telecoms watchdog (Roskomnadzor) representative told RIA Novosti.
“We received the new wording of the article on cannabis and sent it to the experts, who have decided that it now meets our requirements,” said Roskomnadzor representative Vladimir Pikov.
Last Friday, representatives of Russian-language Wikipedia published the watchdog's notification that it was blacklisting an article on smoking cannabis which contained information about ways of smoking the drug. The Wikipedia authors decided to edit the article, rather than to delete it.
Pikov said the telecoms regulator hopes Wikipedia authors will also edit another 11 prohibited articles on the global online encyclopedia.
Internet censorship became a topic of heated online debate in Russia after a new law came into force last year allowing extrajudicial blacklisting of web content deemed to be promoting suicide, pedophilia or drug use.
Websites hosting this kind of information may be closed without recourse to the courts. Russia’s blacklist of websites, monitored by Roskomnadzor, was approved on November 1, 2012.
If a website contains other kinds of prohibited information, the decision to close it can only be taken by a court. According to the rules, the management of a site has three days after being notified to delete prohibited information, after which telecoms operators may block access to the site in Russia.
Last July, the Russian-language division of Wikipedia temporarily suspended its work in protest against the blacklisting law, which was at that time a bill proposing a unified digital blacklist of all websites containing banned content.