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German politician files charges against Wikipedia

by on07 December 2007


Over use of banned Nazi symbols

A German left-wing politician has filed charges against Wikipedia for promoting Nazi symbols that are banned in Germany and Austria.

Deputy leader of Germany's Left party, Katina Schubert, says she decided to take legal action against the popular online encyclopedia site because it is displaying Nazi-era symbols on its German language page.

"The extent and frequency of the symbols on it goes beyond what is needed for documentation and political education, in my view. This isn't about restricting freedom of opinion, it's about examining what the limits are," said Schubert. The idea is to encourage public debate on this issue. Schubert says that the debate should be centered around the fact that the Internet has become a safe haven for various right wing, anti-Semitic and racist organizations.

Wikipedia Deutschland managing director, Arne Klempert, told Reuters that they "...Don't really know what Ms Schubert's problem is," noting that it is more relevant to consider the context in which the symbols are used. His statement surely makes sense: why should people interested in one of the darkest periods of mankind be forced to seek information and images on right wing Websites which litter the Internet? Wouldn't it be wiser to allow them access to controversial content on an unbiased source, such as Wikipedia ?

More on Reuters, here.

Last modified on 10 December 2007
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