Parts of this article (those related to Croatian WP Disinformation Assessment) need to be updated.(July 2021)
Type of site
|Internet encyclopedia project|
|Launched||February 16, 2003|
The Croatian Wikipedia (Croatian: Wikipedija na hrvatskome jeziku) is the Croatian version of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, started on February 16, 2003. This version has 209,352 articles and a total of 5.93 million edits have been made (live count). It has 258,892 registered user accounts, out of which 547 are active (defined as having performed an action on Wikipedia in the last 30 days), and 15 administrators.
Since 2013, the Croatian Wikipedia has received attention from international media for promoting a fascist worldview as well as bias against Serbs of Croatia and anti-LGBT propaganda by the means of historical denialism and by negating or diluting the severity of crimes committed by the Ustaše regime. Apart from whitewashing the crimes and vices of World War II-era criminals, the same is done for contemporary Croatian politicians and public figures; this is supported through massive usage of unreliable sources.
2011 reliability analysis
In a study by Kubelka and Šoštarić from 2011, the reliability of the Croatian Wikipedia was compared to the Croatian Encyclopedia - the Croatian national encyclopedia. Twenty-four reviewers, experts in specific fields, analyzed a representative selection of articles according to the parameters of informativeness, accuracy of presented information, sufficiency, direction and objectivity. Articles were analyzed in 11 thematic categories: arts and culture; history and biographies; medicine and health; technology and applied science; geography; religion; science; mathematics and logic; philosophy; sport and society; and social sciences. Articles were sorted into categories using machine learning techniques, and feature weight statistics were calculated using tf–idf. A total of 500 articles in 250 pairs were randomly chosen and sorted into categories to serve as representative samples.
In both samples facts were manually enumerated - 3015 from the Croatian Encyclopedia and 3315 from Croatian Wikipedia. Comparison for factual accuracy showed that for every error in the Croatian Encyclopedia 2.25 errors were found in Croatian Wikipedia. Analysis by individual categories showed that most errors in Croatian Wikipedia were in the philosophy category, where on average two errors in ten articles were found. The only category where the Croatian Encyclopedia had more errors was natural sciences, where the ratio was 1.25:0.75 in favor of Croatian Wikipedia. Of those factual errors, the ratio was 21:12 for major errors, and 34:23 for minor errors. The overall ratio for minor factual errors was thus lower, the only exception being the society and social sciences category, where the minor error ratio was 3:1.
The reliability analysis for Croatian Wikipedia indicated that 74% of articles were error-free, and 11% had minor errors. Major factual errors were found in 5% of articles, while 4% of articles had both major and minor errors. Overall 85% of articles were deemed "satisfactory" (error-free and containing minor errors), while in comparison 92% of articles in the Croatian Encyclopedia achieved the same rating. Forty percent of articles in Croatian Wikipedia were assessed as sufficiently informative, as opposed to sixty-two percent of articles in the Croatian Encyclopedia. Sixteen percent of Croatian Wikipedia articles were assessed as "insufficiently informative", as opposed to five percent of articles from the Croatian Encyclopedia. The criterion of objectivity measured the neutral point of view in articles; 91% of Croatian Wikipedia articles were assessed as being neutral, as opposed to 98% in the Croatian Encyclopedia. Two percent of Croatian Wikipedia articles were assessed as non-neutral, as opposed to zero in the Croatian Encyclopedia. According to their subjective preference, reviewers chose 53% of articles in the Croatian Encyclopedia as their preferred article version, while only 19.5% of Wikipedia articles were preferred, with 27% of articles being assessed as equal in quality.
Controversy about right-wing bias
Media reports about bias
In September 2013, complaints about right-wing bias of administrators and editors on the Croatian Wikipedia began to receive attention from the media, following the launch of a Facebook page titled Razotkrivanje sramotne hr.wikipedije (Exposing the disgraceful hr.wikipedia) which was created with the intent of bringing attention to the issue. According to Jurica Pavičić, a professor at the University of Split and Jutarnji list columnist, the gradual takeover of the Croatian Wikipedia was started in 2009 by "a small group of conservative administrators" who blocked editors for having "liberal-to-moderate views on controversial topics". Reported examples of bias include historical revisionism such as watering-down and denial of the crimes committed by the Ustashe regime, and equating anti-fascism with forms of totalitarianism. Other issues included the bias against Serbs of Croatia and the LGBT population. Editors who tried to remove the biased sections were reportedly being harassed by administrators and quickly received permanent blocks under various pretexts. The issue was reported by Croatia's daily Jutarnji list and even made its print edition's front page on 11 September 2013.
Two days later, Croatia's Minister of Science, Education and Sports, Željko Jovanović, called for pupils and students in Croatia to avoid using the Croatian Wikipedia. In an interview given to Novi list, Jovanović said that "the idea of openness and relevance as a knowledge source that Wikipedia could and should represent has been completely discredited – which, for certain, has never been the goal of Wikipedia's creators nor the huge number of people around the world who share their knowledge and time using that medium. Croatian pupils and students have been wronged by this, so we have to warn them, unfortunately, that a large part of the content of the Croatian version of Wikipedia is not only dubious but also [contains] obvious forgeries, and therefore we invite them to use more reliable sources of information, which include Wikipedia in English and in other major languages of the world." Jovanović has also commented on the Croatian Wikipedia editors – calling them a "minority group that has usurped the right to edit the Croatian-language Wikipedia".
Wikipedia's co-founder Jimmy Wales said that complaints about the bias of the Croatian Wikipedia were "nothing new" but that Jovanović's denunciation was alarming. Wales also reiterated his opinion that the existence of separate Croatian and Serbian Wikipedias, both written in Serbo-Croatian, is wrong.
Interviews with historians
In an interview given to Index.hr, Robert Kurelić, a professor of history at the Juraj Dobrila University of Pula, has commented that "the Croatian Wikipedia is only a tool used by its administrators to promote their own political agendas, giving false and distorted facts". As two particularly prominent examples he listed the Croatian Wikipedia's coverage of the term Istrijanstvo (Istrian regionalism), defined as a "movement fabricated to reduce the number of Croats", and antifašizam (anti-fascism), which according to him is defined as the opposite of what it really means. Kurelić further advised "that it would be good if a larger number of people got engaged and started writing on Wikipedia", because "administrators want to exploit high-school and university students, the most common users of Wikipedia, to change their opinions and attitudes, which presents a serious issue".
Snježana Koren, a historian at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, has judged the disputed articles as "biased and malicious, partly even illiterate", in an interview with Croatian news agency HINA. She further added that "These are the types of articles you can find on the pages of fringe organizations and movements, but there should be no place for that on Wikipedia", expressing doubts on the ability of its authors to distinguish good from evil. Koren concludes that the ulterior motive of such writings is to rehabilitate the Independent State of Croatia, a Nazi Germany puppet state, and that "there is no other way to characterize such efforts than as Ustashe movement".
The Croatian Wikipedia page on the Jasenovac concentration camp is regarded as a prime example of its historical revisionism and distortions. The Croatian version of the page refers to the WWII Jasenovac concentration camp as a “collection camp” and labour camp, downplays the crimes committed there as well as the number of victims and relies on right-wing media and private blogs as references. Hrvoje Klasić, also a historian at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb, stated to the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network that although Jasenovac was in part a labour camp, referring to it as that alone is "misleading", arguing that referring to Jasenovac as simply a collection and labour camp is to use "the same language as Ustashe propaganda" and also added that "a number of articles and topics are done in a completely revisionist manner [on the Croatian Wikipedia], with highly emphasised nationalist and, I would dare to say, pro-Ustashe sentiment".
In March 2021, a number of changes were made to remove administrative access from a group of editors considered responsible for this, some of whom also had their names published in Croatian media. One of these was exposed to be an editor of a known far-right web portal.
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|Croatian edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Croatian Wikipedia.|
- Official website (in Croatian)
- "Hrvati koji pišu najveću svjetsku enciklopediju" (in Croatian). Jutarnji list. Archived from the original on 2012-10-21.
- Tanja Simić (12 December 2005). "Hrvatski junaci Wikipedije" [Croatian heroes of Wikipedia]. Nacional (in Croatian). Archived from the original on 7 July 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2012.