A free online encyclopaedia, Wikipedia runs on the donations given by its patrons. (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)
Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopaedia, removed the ‘donation notice’ for its Indian users on Thursday. The development had sparked the ‘paywall’ speculations. Several Indian users were bemused over the notice. In the appeal, which has been removed now, Wikipedia had urged the Indian users to donate money for the ‘unlimited access’. However, no such notice live on the Wikipedia homepage. “To all our readers in India. It's a little awkward, so we'll get straight to the point: This Wednesday we humble ask you to defend Wikipedia's independence. We depend on donations averaging about Rs 1,000, but 98% of our readers don't give. If everyone reading this gave Rs 150, the price of a box of tea, we could keep Wikipedia thriving for years to come,” the notice said.
“When we made Wikipedia a non-profit, people warned us we'd regret it. But if Wikipedia became commercial, it would be a great loss to the world. Wikipedia unites all of us who love knowledge: contributors, readers, and the donors who keep us thriving. The heart and soul of Wikipedia is a community of people working to bring you unlimited access to reliable, neutral information. Please take a minute to help us keep Wikipedia online and growing. Thank you,” it further added.
A free online encyclopaedia, Wikipedia runs on the donations given by its patrons. However, this is the first time that users in India have been targeted. A report by techcrunch.com said that the English version of the Wikipedia has more than six million articles. The six millionth article was created by a Canadian teacher named Rosie Step. She had created a page on Marie "Toofie" Lauder, a well-traveled and philanthropic 19th century writer. Wikipedia is available in around 12 languages. The English version of the website averages about 255 million pageviews a day.
Last month, a Turkish court had lifted a ban on Wikipedia after almost three years. Turkey blocked Wikipedia in April 2017, accusing it of being part of a "smear campaign" against Ankara, after the website refused to remove content that allegedly portrayed Turkey as a country supporting the Islamic State group and terrorist organisations. Turkey was the only country in the world apart from China to entirely block access to the online encyclopedia.
But its constitutional court ruled last month that the ban, in place since April 2017, violated freedom of expression.
An Ankara judge gave the order on Wednesday for the ban to be lifted by the telecommunications watchdog. Users said the website was still inaccessible on Wednesday though it was expected to be gradually unblocked nationwide.
Wikipedia declined to remove content from the community-generated site, citing its opposition to censorship. Last year, Wikipedia launched a social media campaign with the hashtag “WeMissTurkey” to press for the removal of the block.
"We did not comply with the demand to remove the articles because we believed that the content in question was legally protected free expression and because we defend our volunteer editors' decisions about what information should be included on Wikipedia," said Samantha Lien, the communications manager for Wikimedia Foundation, which runs the website.