Crowdsourced online encyclopaedia Wikipedia is not alien to controversies due to its left-leaning bias in editing. In a recent instance in India, the site has offended the fans of late Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput, by refusing to include crucial details about the probe into his death in his Wikipedia article. The controversy reached such a level that Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales came forward to defend their decisions on the article.
Several Wikipedia editors are trying to include various materials relating to alleging that Rajput was murdered, but the editors and moderators of the site have refused to include them in the Wiki page, and removed any such reference inserted by any editor. While the cause of the death of Sushant Singh Rajput is still under investigation by the CBI, the Wikipedia article on him says that ‘Rajput died by suicide at his home in Bandra, Mumbai in June 2020’. This prompted social media users to launch a campaign to remove that claim, as the claim is misleading till the CBI concludes its investigation.
An online petition has been launched on Change.org demanding to remove the cause of death as suicide from the article. The petition claims that minutes after his death, the Wikipedia article on Rajput had said that he died of suicide. The petition mentions how doctors in AIIMS also recommended investigation in the case from murder angle. His family suspects murder, and his fans are also claiming that it is a murder, says the petition.
Twitter users also demanded that Wikipedia should edit the article accordingly, using the words ‘Wikipedia Sushant Was Killed’ in their tweets. This prompted Jimmy Wales to reject their demands. He posted a tweet taking a jibe at the online campaign, by saying that Wikipedia is based on reliable sources, not twitter campaigns.
The website has gone to such an extent to deny any reference to the murder angle that it has posted a Q&A section in the talk page of the article, which answers various questions on why they won’t allow edit claiming that the actor was murdered. While most explanations are related to Wikipedia’s policy on relying only so-called reliable sources, it has at least one bizarre explanation.
While editors inserted the height of Sushant Singh Rajput in the page, the site moderators removed that, saying that it is not relevant information. It says height is mentioned only if it is a major factor, such as sports, and claimed that it is not a major factor in case of Sushant’s death.
But that is completely wrong, as one of the major arguments alleging murder is that the distance between the fan and the bed in the room where Sushant was found is dead is less than the height of the actor. It is claimed that he could not have died by suicide at that place as his feet would be touching the bed. Therefore, his height should be mentioned in the article, his fans argue, but it has been rejected by the site.