Monday, March 21, 2011

Open Letter to Wikipedia Founder Jimbo Wales concerning the Murder of Meredith Kercher Article

Petition to Wikipedia Founder Jimbo Wales was created by and written by Joseph W Bishop

To:  Wikipedia Founder Jimbo Wales

Dear Mr. Wales:
We are a group of citizens concerned with the fairness of the recent trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. We ask that you and others in positions of influence at Wikipedia take a careful look at Wikipedia’s coverage of the subject. The Murder of Meredith Kercher article in its present form is not written from a neutral point of view and bears little resemblance to what reliable sources have said about the case.

The trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito has emerged as one of the most controversial and heavily criticized judicial proceedings in modern European history. None of this is properly reflected in the Wikipedia article which for the most part relies on obsolete and inaccurate British tabloid reports for its information. The omission from the article of the criticism of the numerous important experts who have stated in no uncertain terms that Knox and Sollecito did not receive a fair trial calls into question the article’s neutrality. Other flaws in the article include false statements about luminol evidence, the de-emphasis of Rudy Guede and Giuliano Mignini’s criminal acts prior to the crime, and the characterization of the support for Ms. Knox as a PR campaign. Until recently, the article contained a fabricated claim that the Rudy Guede’s apartment had been purchased for him by a wealthy Perugian family.

The article goes on to seriously misrepresent the statements made by Knox and Sollecito during interrogation. In fact both had repeatedly given the true version of events that they were at Sollecito’s apartment together and only toward the end after hours of intense pressure did Ms. Knox make any statements about Patrick Lumumba which were later shown to be false.

The reliable sources who have criticized the trial include John Q. Kelly, Judy Bachrach, Douglas Preston, Paul Ciolino, Timothy Egan, Peter Van Sant, Steve Moore, Bob Graham, Michael Scadron, Judge Michael Heavey, George Fletcher, Dr. David Anderson, and US Senator Maria Cantwell. These people have spoken in important media such as CNN, CBS, ABC, The Independent, and the New York Times and they have all used unprecedented language to condemn the trial. On Larry King Live two separate commentators described the tribunal as a “public lynching” and a “kangaroo court.” New York Times columnist Timothy Egan compared it to the Salem Witch Trials. In a CBS News segment, long time correspondent Peter Van Sant stated, “We have concluded that Amanda Knox is being railroaded.”

The current, mostly European, Wikipedia moderators who have taken ownership of the article are determined to see that this criticism is not presented to the readers. In addition, the article's list of books and television documentaries about the case deliberately omits certain works that conflict with the agenda of the article's moderators.

Wikipedia has a reasonably well conceived set of guidelines regarding biographies of living persons (which include Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito) but they have not been properly applied to this article. Clear and compelling documentation of irregularities in the article and in the conduct of the article’s moderators have been presented to Wikipedia without a proper response.

Wikipedia content is supposed to be based on what reliable sources have said about the subject, yet the current article has now been explicitly condemned by the authors of two different books about the case. As an example, Dr. Mark Waterbury, author of Monster of Perugia, writes, “the Wikipedia entry for the Meredith Kercher case has been corrupted by partisan activity, and as of this writing, it is deliberately biased and inaccurate.”

While mainstream media coverage has been increasingly favorable to Ms. Knox, it has been offset to some degree by a formidable online campaign of what can only be described as “hate speech” by those who see her as guilty. It is members of this camp who have hijacked the Wikipedia article. At this point, powerful Wikipedia moderators with a non-neutral agenda have successfully blocked or threatened away a dozen editors who have challenged the neutrality of the present article. We know of no other article where the integrity of Wikipedia has been compromised to this degree.

Please do something about this Mr. Wales. All we are seeking is an article that accurately reflects what reliable sources have said about the case.


The Undersigned

Bruce Fisher has written an article for discussing Wikipedia's coverage of this case.

Wikipedia Called Out for Unfair Coverage of Amanda Knox Case by Bruce Fisher