Wikipedia’s editors have voted to ban the use of articles from British tabloid The Daily Mail and its popular website as sources, calling them “generally unreliable”.
English-language editors of the online encyclopaedia cited The Daily Mail’s “reputation for poor fact-checking, sensationalism, and flat-out fabrication”, said a statement posted on Wikipedia on Wednesday.
The vote meant the tabloid’s use as a reference, a key part of Wikipedia’s entries, should be “generally prohibited”, it said.
The Wikimedia Foundation, the not-for-profit organisation that runs the Wikipedia website, acknowledged the vote in a statement cited in The Guardian but said it was up to its unpaid editors.
There was no immediate reaction to the development from The Daily Mail.
The move followed a prolonged discussion among Wikipedia editors that began on January 7. There were more than 45 votes from editors supporting the ban, which was opposed by more than 20 editors.
From now on, “the Daily Mail will generally not be referenced as a ‘reliable source’ on English Wikipedia, and volunteer editors are encouraged to change existing citations to the Daily Mail to another source deemed reliable by the community”, the statement said.
The National Enquirer, a US tabloid, is the only news publication that “should never be used”, according to the editors’ guidelines.
Wikipedia rarely puts in place a blanket ban on news sources and entries in the online encyclopaedia sometimes cite news organisations that have close links to the Kremlin.
Content on Wikipedia is written and edited by a global network of volunteers who must base their articles on “reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy”.
The guidelines state that special care should be taken when sourcing material from state-run news organisations, including China’s official Xinhua news agency, North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency and Iran’s Press TV. However, there has never been a ban on sourcing material from these news outlets.
The Daily Mail’s reliability had been the subject of debate among Wikipedia editors since January 2015.
Some opponents of the move argued that “singling out one source does not deal with the other poor sources that are currently permitted”, and that historically the British tabloid may have been accurate.
The Daily Mail, UK’s second biggest-selling daily newspaper, has been accused of racism, sensationalism and inaccuracies. Its online operation, MailOnline, is one of the largest English speaking news websites with 24.5 million monthly unique visitors.