Tuesday, September 26, 2023

A top Wikipedia editor has been arrested in Belarus

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According to the Belarusian publication, the Chief Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption in Belarus (GUBOPiK) has arrested prominent Wikipedia editor Mark Bernstein. Zerkal† The arrest comes after Bernstein’s personal information was shared on GOBUPiK’s public Telegram channel. Bernstein is one of the top 50 editors of the Russian Wikipedia

The edge was able to confirm that Bernstein’s information – including his social media, Wikipedia address and workplace – had been shared in GUBOPik’s channel on the messaging app. In addition to his photo and personal information, a video of Bernstein’s arrest was also posted. In the photo itself, Bernstein is accused of “spreading false anti-Russian information”. The channel has since been made private.

Zerkal also reports that Bernstein was accused of editing Wikipedia articles about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, none of the information in the Telegram channels clearly specifies what Bernstein has been officially accused of. in a activity log from Bernstein’s alleged Wikimedia username, you can see that he has made over 200,000 changes to Russian Wikipedia articles. Currently, his account is described as “blocked indefinitely”.

In the Russian Wikipedia channel on Telegram, users in Belarus and Russia were also advised to hide personal information and only edit articles about the war from other accounts.

Belarus provided logistical support during the Russian invasion of Ukraine and served as a staging area for units en route to the Ukrainian capital Kiev. Earlier today, Ukraine said Belarus might planning to join the invasion with its own army, claiming that Russia carried out a ‘false flag’ attack to provoke the country’s involvement.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law punishing those who spread “fake news” with up to 15 years in prison. Roskomnadzor, the country’s technology and communications agency, also threatened to block Wikipedia over its Russian-language page on the current invasion of Ukraine. At the time, the Wikimedia Foundation issued a statement in support of the Russian Wikipedia editors.

A Wikimedia Foundation spokesperson, who was asked for comment, said the group is closely monitoring the situation. “The Foundation’s Trust and Security and Human Rights teams have been monitoring the ongoing crisis in Ukraine,” the spokesperson said, “and are in close contact with our communities in the region to ensure their safety and respond.” to their needs.”

Correction, March 11, 2022, 18:20: An earlier version of this article stated that Mark Bernstein had edited more than 200,000 articles on the Russian Wikipedia. This has been corrected to over 200,000 edits. We regret the mistake.

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