Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales on Internet Censorship

The co-founder of Wikipedia spoke out against Internet censorship at the annual international conference Wikimania, hosted in Washington by the Wikimedia Foundation in collaboration with 15 organizations, including the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG).

“We will continue to speak out, and I personally will continue to speak against [legislation] that I feel is incredibly unhealthy for the planet, for free culture, and so forth,” Jimmy Wales said during the opening ceremony at George Washington University.

A key strategic priority for the BBG is to assist the world’s citizens to gain and maintain access to information on all platforms, and in every place where governments seek to censor information for political purposes.

Rob Bole, director of innovation at BBG, said the culture of partnership that has helped Wikipedia to flourish also is fostering innovation in the realm of international media.

“We are seeing the effects of Wiki culture becoming a core component in the BBG’s Innovation work – marrying the highest level of audience interaction with journalistic expertise. Our audiences in many instances are more accurately called ‘partners,’” he said.

The BBG’s efforts to counter Internet censorship have grown exponentially in the past few years as it has confronted the issues of satellite jamming, censorship and Internet blocking. BBG efforts are complemented through close coordination with the State Department, one of the partners at Wikimania.

The three-day event encouraged Wikimedia community members to discuss how free knowledge and open-source content projects could be shared in the future. The topics of the talks ranged from adapting to the mobile and smartphone revolutions to enabling collaboration across language barriers to improving the accessibility of open-source software.