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Turkey lifts Wikipedia ban after two and a half years

Following the judgement by the Turkish Constitutional Court, access to Wikipedia is being restored by the service providers of the country. The court gave the judgement on December 26, 2019, calling the ban on Wikipedia unconstitutional.

Turkish government banned Wikipedia in April 2017 after which the Wikimedia Foundation, host of Wikipedia website, tried to engage the Turkish authorities by challenging the ban in the court. Wikimedia Foundation also filed a petition with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in May 2019, which in turn granted priority status to the Wikipedia ban case and the case is still in consideration.

“At Wikimedia, we are committed to protecting everyone’s fundamental right to access information. We are excited to share this important moment with our Turkish contributor community on behalf of knowledge-seekers everywhere,” said Katherine Maher, Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation.

Wikipedia is a global free knowledge database managed by individual contributions on topics ranging from culture, sports, technology, and more. Students, teachers and professionals alongwith several other citizens from across the world extended their support to Wikipedia by tweeting on the #WeMissTurkey.

Wikimedia Foundation is actively engaging the governments all over the world on internet freedom. Last year in December, Wikimedia Foundation asked the Indian Government to reconsider the Intermediary Liability rules citing that these rules will hamper the reliability of the website as well as add extra monetary burden which will affect the website as well Indian users. It should be noted that India is one of the largest userbases of Wikipedia with north of 700 million visits per month.

Back in May 2019, China extended the ban on all language editions of Wikipedia, which was earlier confined only to Chinese edition. But the ban was not extended to other sites such as the Wikimedia Commons. Internet shutdowns and bans are now a common phenomenon, and this decision is certainly a positive signal on global internet freedom.

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