ECONOMYNEXT – Frustrated with the Sri Lanka’s ruling family for the government’s failure to address the economic crisis, young protesters took into Wikipedia and edited and distorted contents with humorous statements in one of the family members.
Hundreds of youth have been protesting since early last month in isolated locations, demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa after the incumbent government’s economic mismanagement resulted in shortage of milk powder, cooking gas, and fuel amid extended power cuts due to lack of dollars to import diesel.
A March 31 protest turned into violence near President Rajapaksa’s private residence. Since then protests have intensified. People across the country defied Rajapaksa’s 36-hour curfew law on Sunday (03) and protested despite a State of Emergency and social media ban were in place.
Some technical savvy youth have edited some of the Wikipedia pages of Rajapaksa family members and resigned Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal expressing their protests.
One of the member of youth protesters said youth whose parents do not allow to take part in protests try to express their displeasure through such editing.
“I see some are lashing it out on Twitter and then I also saw others editing on Wikipedia,:” the protester said asking not to be named.
Wikipedia allows the general public to edit information to make content reliable and up to date.
However due to the heavy load of editing on certain pages, Wikipedia has taken a swift initiative to lock those pages including some political figures such as President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, due to vandalism, edit warring and disruptive edits.
The edits consisted of changing names to the political figures and including past and present controversial statements and behavior of the politicians.
The edits are shared and circulated amongst many platforms of social media, seen as humorous content and of jovial matter by the majority.
However, ardent supporters of the Rajapaksa have claimed that such measures are of low quality and childish behavior.
Wiki pages of a few identities such as Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Mahinda Rajapaksa and Namal Rajapaksa were immediately corrected while others were reedited even after correction by Wikipedia, a technical savvy man who monitors the Wikipedia page said.
The entire cabinet of Sri Lanka has resigned on Sunday, but President Rajapaksa appointed 4 ministers to the new cabinet on Monday, but the newly appointed finance minister resigned on Tuesday.
The Wikipidia page of former Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal, who resigned on Monday, saw ridiculing of his qualifications and the role he played on the economy when was the Governor. (Colombo/April 5/2022)