On 1 March 2022 the Wikimedia Foundation received a Russian government demand to remove content related to the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine posted by volunteer contributors to Russian Wikipedia. The Wikimedia Foundation and the movement we are part of have never backed down in the face of government threats to deny people their fundamental human right to access free, open, and verifiable information.
The information available on Wikipedia is sourced and shared by volunteers who invest time and effort to ensure that the content is fact-based and reliable. Many continue to do so in adverse circumstances: As the invasion continues, Ukrainian volunteers have continued to add content and make edits to Wikipedia, even in face of deep hardship.
Tuesday’s takedown request threatened censorship. Denying people access to reliable information, at a time of crisis, can have life-altering consequences. We join Wikimedia Russia, the independent Russia based Wikimedia affiliate and the broader community of Russian Wikipedia volunteers in defending the right of volunteers to continue their diligent work of editing Wikipedia with the most up-to-date and reliable information available related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Wikipedia is a crucial second draft of history, freely and openly providing important historical and current context of Russia, Ukraine and many other topics. When the invasion of Ukraine began on February 23rd, volunteer editors immediately started to create Wikipedia articles to inform the world about unfolding events. As of March 3rd, the English Wikipedia article about the invasion has been viewed over 11.3 million times, and there are articles about the topic in over 99 languages.
As ever, Wikipedia is an important source of reliable, factual information in this crisis. In recognition of this important role, we will not back down in the face of efforts to censor and intimidate members of our movement. We stand by our mission to deliver free knowledge to the world.