x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Knowledge and social conscience

Online encyclopedia has a "long-term" educational role in the Arab world.

Wikipedia has a "long-term" educational role in the Arab world after protests in countries such as Tunisia and Egypt, its founder says.

Jimmy Wales says there has been "a lot of ink" devoted to the role of Facebook and Twitter in the Arab unrest.

"Where I hope we can contribute is in a more long-term way," Mr Wales says. "The deeper question is how we build positive societies and institutions that work.

"If you don't know history, if you don't know political science and if you don't know economics, and you go out on the street and overturn a government, what do you do next?"

The "idea of neutrality" is central to Wikipedia, Mr Wales adds. "What I'd love to see as Wikipedia grows is that people have access to just the basic facts rather than something written with an agenda."