Wikipedia and human freedom

September 11th, 2006 by Ross Scaife

From The Observer:

The founder of Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia written by its users, has defied the Chinese government by refusing to bow to censorship of politically sensitive entries. Jimmy Wales, one of the 100 most influential people in the world according to Time magazine, challenged other internet companies, including Google, to justify their claim that they could do more good than harm by co-operating with Beijing.

Wikipedia, a hugely popular reference tool in the West, has been banned from China since last October. Whereas Google, Microsoft and Yahoo went into the country accepting some restrictions on their online content, Wales believes it must be all or nothing for Wikipedia.

His stand comes as Irrepressible.info, a joint campaign by The Observer and Amnesty International for free speech on the web, continues with the support of more than 37,000 people around the world. The campaign calls on governments to stop persecuting political bloggers and on IT companies to stop complying with these repressive regimes.

Wales said censorship was ‘ antithetical to the philosophy of Wikipedia. We occupy a position in the culture that I wish Google would take up, which is that we stand for the freedom for information, and for us to compromise I think would send very much the wrong signal: that there’s no one left on the planet who’s willing to say “You know what? We’re not going to give up.”‘

One Response to “Wikipedia and human freedom”

  1. zafar Says:

    Wikipedia is ‘not for profit’ organization, so if they are not accessable in China, they don’t loose much. Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are looking for money and if getting rid of of some of their basic rules (or consious) means more money, sure, they will do it!

Leave a Reply