A group of homophobic editors have overrun Wikipedia in Croatia in a clear breach of the sites ‘neutral point of view’ policy.
Many Croatian language articles have been altered to portray LGBT people and other minority groups in a negative light, and articles about history have been re-written in a biased way.
One of the articles in question is the Croatian language description of marriage, which now defines it as ‘a social institution and legal contract between two people, a man and a woman, for the purpose of living together and raising offspring.’
Users were threatened with having their accounts blocked when they tried to change the definition to a more inclusive one. The article is now locked and may only be edited by administrators.
In a similar vein, the Croatian article on same-sex marriage was renamed to what translates to ‘marriage and gay’, allegedly due to a user complaining ‘same-sex marriage is an oxymoron and cannot logically exist.’ Arguments in favor of same-sex marriage have been erased.
A GSN source in Croatia told us: ‘Many students use Wikipedia as primary source of information. I suppose they want to indoctrinate people with their biased views on history and LGBT issues.’
And he speculated campaigners against marriage equality were using Wikipedia as a ‘propaganda platform’ ahead of a national call for a referendum to ban same-sex marriage.
The Croatian Minister of Science, Education and Sports, has gone so far as to warn students off the Croatian language version of the website, urging them to use the English language version instead.
‘The idea of openness and relevance as a knowledge source that Wikipedia could and should represent has been completely discredited,’ he said in an interview with Novilist.
‘Croatian pupils and students have been wronged by this, so we have to warn them, unfortunately, that a large part of the content of the Croatian version of Wikipedia is not only dubious but also [contains] obvious forgeries, and therefore we invite them to use more reliable sources of information, which include Wikipedia in English and in other major languages of the world.’
Biased Wikipedia articles are by no means unique to Croatia, and many editors in the Balkans seem to treat Wikipedia as a nationalist, rather than neutral, forum.
The level of bias in the Croatian Wikipedia does, however, seem to be extreme even for the Balkans, and media attention is beginning to rise, with one Croatian paper featuring the story on its front page.
These articles are in clear violation of the guidelines set out by Wikipedia, which state: ‘All Wikipedia articles and other encyclopedic content must be written from a neutral point of view.
‘This policy is nonnegotiable and all editors and articles must follow it.’
It is not yet known what, if any, action shall be taken by the Wikimedia Foundation to restore the site’s neutrality.