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South African Official Vandalises Wikipedia AIDS Content

by VR Sreeraman on August 26, 2007 at 11:20 AM
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South African Official Vandalises Wikipedia AIDS Content

A South African government official was suspended on Friday after it was found he attempted to censor information on the popular Wikipedia website about his country's HIV/AIDS policies.

Repeated vandalism attempts in which multiple entries on the government's HIV/AIDS policies were deleted, including one questioning the government's political management of the pandemic, were tracked down to the official's computer.


The culprit, whose IP (Internet Protocol) address was traced back to a machine at the offices of government's statistics arm, Statistics SA, will now face a disciplinary hearing.

"Yes, we have located the computer and suspended the person who the computer belongs to. Our own disciplinary processes will be activated and will see what happens later," said Statistics SA spokesman Trevor Oosterwyk.

Information technology news website IT Web broke the story after an investigation revealed multiple deletions on July 27.

Wikipedia is a massive free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, and other contributors reversed the changes within minutes.

Wikipedia's policy cites vandalism as "any addition, removal, or change of content made in a deliberate attempt to compromise the integrity of Wikipedia."

South Africa has often come under fire for its AIDS policies, with President Thabo Mbeki questioning the link between HIV and AIDS, and Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang promoting the use of vegetables to combat the disease.

According to IT Web the person who deleted the entries left only the parts describing the actions being taken by government to curb the spread of the disease.

Source: AFP


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