Kazakh Wikipedia has received an award at the annual Wikimania conference, which was held this year in Washington DC. The conference recognized Kazakhstan’s success in the development and improvement of its national division of Wikipedia, the biggest online encyclopedia, writes Caspionet.kz.
The Kazakh Wikipedia project, already voted “the best wiki project in 2011″, was supported by the Kazakhstan national encyclopedia, run by the Ministry of Culture. In a not-so-common cooperation between paper and digital media, they allowed the website to convert their whole hard-copy content into a digital form to be posted on Wikipedia, says Rauan Kenzhekhanuly, Head of the Wikibilim Foundation which was in charge of the project.
This resulted in the publication of about 70,000 articles, which attracted the interest of other users who actively started contributing to the page, bringing the current number of articles to almost 140,000.
Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, was impressed by the achievement, thanked the Kazakh government for contributing and supporting the project and accepted the Kazakh Ambassador to the US’s invitation to visit the country.
According to Amir Aharoni, the programmer of Israeli Wikimedia Foundation, the Kazakh success in spreading free knowledge can be of inspiration to other countries like Armenia, and Uzbekistan.
Then again, one cannot help wonder what the future of free knowledge will look like if governments, especially those of authoritarian countries (like Uzbekistan and Armenia, actually), which do not exactly support freedom of speech, get involved, more or less directly, in the Wikipedia project.
Freedom House, the American NGO monitoring the status of liberties across the world, rated Kazakhstan in 2012 as “partly free,” and its media as “not free.”
Image features the logo of Kazakh Wikipedia as seen on its main page