Did Canadian customs actually hold a man because of Wikipedia?

Or at least in part because of Wikipedia? That’s what is being claimed by one Taner Akçam, a professor who has written about the Armenian genocide. Akçam writes:

“As a former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience in Turkey, I should not have been surprised. But my recent detention at the Montreal airport—apparently on the basis of anonymous insertions in my Wikipedia biography—signals a disturbing new phase in a Turkish campaign of intimidation that has intensified since the November 2006 publication of my book, A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility.”

The story as it is laid out is worth reading, in part as a reminder that if you make a enough trouble for a government, you are never truly free from harassment, but really, are we considering Wikipedia as a source for terror watch lists?! Yes I use it (and probably you do too) as a quick-and-dirty reference tool, but then nothing I’ve used it for will get anyone detained. In Wikipedia’s defense, it appears that the offending passages are now purged from Akçam’s page.

This is a travesty. If you’ll excuse me now, I have to go edit Stephen Harper’s Wikipedia biography.

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