UPDATE: Wikimedia statement regarding censorship in the UK

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This afternoon the Wikimedia Foundation announced that the Internet Watch Foundation has taken Wikipedia off of the United Kingdom internet ‘blacklist.’  We’re very pleased with this development, and happy that editing and viewing in the United Kingdom is returning to normal.
We’d like to thank the thousands of Wikipedia supporters who have spoken out about this situation or taken the time to contact us with their concerns.  We’re thankful as well to the IWF for acting quickly to resolve the block.

This weekend has seen quite a bit of coverage of an unfortunate situation for Wikipedia users in the United Kingdom.  The Internet Watch Foundation, a UK-based self-regulatory body, has taken action to block access to specific Wikipedia content in the UK, and in turn has caused a major issue for the UK Wikipedia community.  The censoring has dramatically affected the way UK traffic is handled by Wikipedia, and in short, about 95% of the UK is barred from editing Wikipedia.
This is particularly bad news for the entire Wikipedia project and the millions of users from around the world who visit Wikipedia every day.  On the English Wikipedia alone edits and contributions from the UK account for at least 25% of overall editing activity.
The Wikimedia Foundation has distributed this statement to the press and internally among its global community of volunteers to explain the situation and the reasons behind the blocks in the UK.  We’ve also prepared a series of Questions and Answers.
We are hopeful that discussions with the IWF will continue, and that all actions and measures against Wikipedia in the UK will be suspended.  Please share your support for Wikipedia and let others know how you feel about this situation.
Thanks,
Jay Walsh, Head of Communications

Archive notice: This is an archived post from blog.wikimedia.org, which operated under different editorial and content guidelines than Diff.

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I just wanted to say that the clocks in the “Wikimedia Blog” banner remind me of a row of urinals. Sorry if this is off-topic.

The IWF’s censorship action is ridiculous, and I hope that they reverse their action post-haste.
-K

I CALL ON UK LABOUR GOVERNMENT TO IMMEDIATELY CEASE ITS TOTALITARIAN CENSORSHIP.
Elad Shetreet
London, UK

On wikipedia in matters of copyright or regular porno images any slightly dubieus image is
removed rapidly even if it being illegal is still very questionalbe. Why is is this fairly officensive material being kept on wikipedia whilst a lot less offensive materials are speedily removed.
What will be next on wikipedia ?
Pedophiles publishing their ‘art’ pictures in articles about pedophilia and naturism ?
You will have to put a boundery somewhere and where this particular subject is concerned I suggest you put is rather lower than higher.

This is extremely disturbing. I am vehemently against censorship and this is a horrible step toward loss of freedom.

XYZ pretty much sums up my sentiments. I do not find the image tasteful, but at the same time, it is unquestionably not pornographic. If people find content to be offensive, the onus is on them to not look at it, not on the government to prevent anyone from looking at it.
What happens if the IWF deems a political party’s views offensive? What if they deem a religion to be offensive? Is there any foreseeable end in sight if this is allowed to stand?

i have removed a lot of the porn websites now but still have a few for myself,bruce.

oh well,bruce.

It is very disappointing that an organization that is not directly accountable to any part of the public is given the authority to block one of the most valuable resources of our time. This isn’t a government, this isn’t a group that is elected or recognized and more importantly those who run it can’t be recalled by the people. It’s a true disconnect between people and those who enforce rules. This makes it a truly disturbing act of censorship. Further, IWF’s unwillingness to help the UK community regain full access to the rest of Wikipedia is nonexistent and shows a… Read more »

hAI:
Wikipedia doesn’t censor, period.
The criteria for inclusion of media content is basically if its relevant to the text.
An article going into length to the controversial nature of an album cover and not showing a picture of the actual album in a medium where doing so is cheap and easy, would be a much more terrible offense to our readers: we promise to deliver the sum of all human knowledge, warts and all.

The Wikimedia Foundation statement to the Press is not very strong. Why so namby-pamby?

Protecting exploitation of children is NOT censorship.
Your editors still publish pedophile images such as the indecent image found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:WebHamster
It is well known that this particular editor (a.k.a. hoary) uses Wikipedia to further his own commercial marketing (e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drake_circus) whilst using it as a playground to attract other pedophiles.

Now I understand why something like a page on prince Harry is so valuable to be present here as pages of non-Christian non-Anglo backgrounds commoners’ achievements are being meticulously deleted as not essential for still inherited even a shadow of a possibility of professional activities existing outside fashion-parade-cat walks.
Perhaps, UK-related pages “HMERII” and “British Royals” provide enough information at the start of the third millennium to attract readers to special publications on relevant topics.

Now I understand why something like a page on prince Harry is so valuable to be present here as pages of non-Christian non-Anglo backgrounds commoners’ achievements are being meticulously deleted as not essential for still inherited even a shadow of a possibility of professional activities existing outside fashion parade cat walks.
Perhaps, pages “HMERII” and “British Royals” provide enough information at the start of a third millennium.

This is a rediculous example of action without due process of law. They should be sued by WMF.

Your editors still publish pedophile images such as the indecent image found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:WebHamster
Pedophilia? probably not very tasteful, but it is not even close to obscene, I’ve seen sculptures that are more obscene (for example http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imagen:Santa_Maria_della_Vittoria_-_6.jpg), but aah right they were made by great artists, so they can’t be obscene.
even if they were, there’s stuff a lot worse on Ads

Good sense prevailed and it has been fixed, hopefully, the IWF will think twice next time before doing anything stupid again..I really don’t Wikimedia will waste their time suing the IWF, we have better things to do and get on with what we were doing all along, providing free NPOV information.

@hal: What has naturism to do with pedophilia?! Nothing. Naturism even is very far from *any* kind of sexuality. Just read the article [[Naturism]]. I hope you will be enlightened a bit. The images displayed there don’t display sexuality. They display people how they really look like. The difference between an erotic photo (you know posing, concentration on erogenous zones and such…) and a naturism photo (just a naked person being there and perhapes doing something like taking a bath) is fundamental. For example this image here really is great in this respect: [[Image:Naturista.jpg]]. But sure according to “low” standards… Read more »

The web-block/filtering has been re-instated for BT Broadband customers (and some other ISP’s), as of yesterday (12 December). Why is no-one taking action about this?? This issue is NOT over – yet.

First of all, could someone please explain to me exactly how the image found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:WebHamster is an example of paedophilia on Wikipedia, as you put it. I would certainly agree that it’s in bad taste, but it is not an example of that. And I’m absolutely sure that the image found there is of a consenting adult. And for those who think that Wikipedia is a place for advertisers and sexual deviants: Wikipedia has a pretty strict idea of what it is and is not, and what is encyclopaedic and what is not. My sources for this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:What_Wikipedia_is_not http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view… Read more »