A magistrate judge in Moscow Tuesday fined Wikimedia 2 million roubles ($32,600) over the platform’s refusal to remove entries relating to the war in Ukraine. Wikimedia has not yet responded to the court’s decision. The fine is the most recent in a string of many aimed at Western news and information platforms. Fines and lawsuits have only increased since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.The Russian government began issuing fines in 2021 under article 13.41 of the Code of Russian Federation on Administrative Offenses passed in December 2020. Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor notably fined Google, Facebook and Twitter and they failed to delete posts related to public protests in Russia.Wikimedia, platform host of Wikipedia, was previously fined five million roubles ($65,000) in April. Several articles relating to Russian military defeats and suspected war crimes in Ukraine were at issue. The court alleged, “the information on Wikipedia is considered disinformation, which poses risk of mass public disorder in Russia. Further, the Court declared that the Wikimedia Foundation is operating inside Russian territory, and would therefore be required to comply with Russian law.” While appealing the April fine, Wikimedia stated that they intend to continue to provide well-sourced Russian language information. They also argued that Russia “mischaracterizes” the nature of Wikimedia’s global model and does not have jurisdiction over the company.
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