Wikipedia Censorship Sparks Free Speech Debate


That's the main complaint of those who oppose the IWF's ban -- the idea that this image may be deemed "distasteful" by many people, but as long as it's not illegal, a self-governing group has no right to impose its own moral assessment onto millions of others. The image is also printed in books accessible in libraries, a spokesperson for Wikipedia's U.K.-based volunteers .

"Are the police going to go into those libraries and rip out the offending page?" he asks.

The IWF ultimately acts as the morality police for about 95 percent of the U.K.'s Internet users, and the fact that one nongovernment company has so much control over what's decent and what isn't is a bit alarming. Where does the U.K. government stand on all of this? Should its opinion count?

Broader Implications

The questions reach further than this single image on this specific Wikipedia page. If an independent group such as the IWF can make its own assessments as to the appropriateness of content, many are asking, where do we draw the line? A complaint has already been filed with the IWF for hosting the album's image on its store pages. Should Internet users in the U.K. be banned from accessing Amazon, too? Does a group of self-appointed moral judges have the right to make that call? And how far do we take it -- should we block other sites like, say, the , since one could pull up the image there as well?