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Wikipedia Battle Intensifies as PA Joins the Fray

PA journalists plan to join the 'Wikipedia War' following first Zionist editing course.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 8/27/2010, 11:46 AM / Last Update: 8/27/2010, 12:59 PM

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Following the opening of the first-ever Zionist editing group aimed at defending Israel on Wikipedia, a group of Palestinian Authority journalists plan to join the fray and create their own Wikipedia editing program.

Palestinian Journalists Syndicate head Abdul Nasser An-Najar told the Bethlehem-based Maan news agency that his organization plans to set up editing groups to counter attempts to present Israel's view on Wikipedia. He called on the PA to take part in the initiative.

An-Najar warned that the next regional war would be a “media war.” Online information on the Israeli-Arab conflict shapes world opinion, he said.

Last week the Zionist “Yisrael Sheli” (My Israel) organization opened a course to address the problem of pro-Arab bias on Wikipedia. In a one-day seminar, lecturers taught dozens of participants how to ensure that Israel's view is presented on the online encyclopedia.

Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that provides information based largely on anonymous contributions. Many Israelis who have attempted to change information on Wikipedia that they believe is inaccurate have found that their edits were rejected; last week's course strove to change that by teaching would-be Wikipedia editors how to make changes last.