Wikipedia protected reporter by holding page back

The New York Times reporter who escaped from the Taliban in Afghanistan last week was protected when his employer contacted dozens of news organizations to give him a better chance to survive the kidnapping.

David Rohde, his driver and his interpreter were kidnapped by the Taliban on November 10th and management at the New York Times got agreement from the press they contacted to keep the kidnapping quiet.

But Wikipedia couldn’t be suppressed because someone added the information about Rohde being kidnapped to his page three days after the kidnap.

A Times journalist edited out the page but then the entry about the kidnapping was restored. At that point the New York Times turned to the co-founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, who agreed that the entry should not contain the information about the kidnapping.

But over the last seven months users kept adding the information to the page, while Wikipedia occasionally froze the entry. The page has now been restored to reflect the current situation.

It’s not over yet, however. The self-censorship has attracted a great deal of comment. One reader in the discussion group connected to the main page wrote in March: “Why the hell is removing the bit about him being kidnapped? It’s confirmed by several sources and even if it’s not on the news, doesn’t make it a false statment (sic), someone should really look into this.

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