India summons Wikipedia officials over cricketer biography tweak

India summons Wikipedia officials over cricketer biography tweak By A Robin - September 05, 2022
Cricketer Arshdeep Singh

Cricketer Arshdeep Singh

India has summoned executives of Wikipedia after a national cricketer's page on the online encyclopedia was edited following a match with rival Pakistan to claim that he was linked to a Sikh separatist movement, a government source said on Monday.

Cricketer Arshdeep Singh incurred the wrath of some social media users after he dropped a simple catch in the closing stages of a tense India-Pakistan match on Sunday.

Singh's Wikipedia page on Sunday was edited to say the Sikh cricketer, born in the northern Indian state of Punjab, had been selected to play for Khalistan, referring to an independent Sikh state sought by some groups but which does not exist.

The issue of separatism is sensitive for India, which has faced rebellions in regions such as Kashmir since breaking free of British rule in 1947.

The wrongful edits were "removed within minutes" by Wikipedia's volunteer community, a spokesperson for Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, said in a statement. Editing access to the article has been restricted to trusted users since, they added.

A senior government source said the federal information technology (IT) ministry has summoned Wikipedia executives over the incident, without elaborating.

India's IT ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

India's Economic Times newspaper reported earlier on Monday a government panel will question Wikipedia on how the online encyclopedia is edited and how modifications such as those made to Singh's page could be allowed.

"The edits have been traced back to servers in the neighboring countries and can cause serious damage to the internal peace and national safety of India," the newspaper quoted a government official as saying.

Wikipedia's articles, written primarily by unpaid volunteers, are relied on by platforms from Google to Amazon Alexa to give their users information and context.

"Wikimedia Foundation generally does not set editorial policy on Wikipedia. That is, we don't write, edit, or determine what content is included on Wikipedia or how that content is maintained," Wikimedia's statement said.

Emotions run high whenever India play Pakistan in what is cricket's most passionate rivalry between the bitter neighbours.

India prevailed in the first group match between the arch-rivals on Aug. 28 but Pakistan swiftly exacted revenge clinching Sunday's thriller at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Reporting by Munsif Vengattil and Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Aditya Kalra and Hugh Lawson


By A Robin - September 05, 2022

Leave a comment