Our international activities include collaboration with cross-border Wikimedia chapters to have greater impact and to pool resources and projects.
Wikimedia CH is part of FKAGEU and, through the group, has been engaged in EU-level public policy activities. While Switzerland is not part of the European Union, the country is influenced by the EU’s legislative process. In 2019, we saw the conclusion of the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. Wikimedia ensured that not-for-profit platforms that host user-generated content, such as Wikipedia, remain exempt from new content filtering rules (as per Article 17) and can largely continue to exist as they currently do. Wikimedia, together with Communia and Europeana, successfully proposed a “public domain safeguard” in the new European law. It will ensure that faithful digital copies of public domain content will remain in the public domain across the bloc.
In addition to the Directive, Wikimedia is following up on the TERREG Regulation, a proposed European law that would require online platforms to quickly identify and remove terrorist content. As Wikipedia is covered by the new provisions, we want to make sure that judicial oversight, transparency and protections against over-deletions are enshrined.
Another significant part of Wikimedia CH's international outreach concerns consistent collaboration with neighboring chapters to implement our programmatic activities. They include the GLAMwikiCH Day and the two DACH GLAM meetings described in the GLAM section, as well as the Wikidata Zurich Training 2019 described in Program Education and the WikiCons mentioned in Program Community. What’s more, our chapter is very active in driving WikiFranca forward. It is a partnership between francophone Wikimedia chapters and affiliated working groups, and we are contributing to its international success. The fact that cross-border collaborations are integrated into the entirety of this report illustrates how deeply rooted they are in the fiber of our chapter.
In 2019, Wikimedia CH also expanded its collaboration to involve a wider Wikiverse by working with Argentina’s chapter, as well as the Wikimedia Foundation and the Office of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights. Based upon Argentina’s WikiDerechosHumanos efforts, we joined with WikiFranca under the name Wiki Human Rights to make Wikimedia projects into tools that can help people to understand and champion their human rights.
Our national outreach activities focus on making an impact on Swiss policies that affect open and free knowledge. Parldigi is the Parliamentary Group on Digital Sustainability and promotes the digitally sustainable use of knowledge in Switzerland through parliamentary initiatives, dinner events, open hearings, media releases and blog entries. Parldigi’s members include over 50 national and state councilors. As one of the sponsors of the organization, Wikimedia CH can contribute to the agenda and discussion topics and can attend various high-level meetings and gatherings. Our chapter participated in Parldigi’s 10th anniversary celebration in June 2019, for example. One of our board members even secured a speaking slot at the parliamentarian dinner in December.
Via Parldigi and with Wikimedia CH’s contribution, a second parliamentary advance (parlamentarischer Vorstoss) was submitted to establish a directory that makes federal images free and easily accessible. At this time, only the German version of the advance and the parliament’s reply are available online.
Collaborating with like-minded organizations allows all of us to speak with a louder, unified voice and be more effective in achieving our goals. Therefore, we partner with a multitude of organizations that advocate for the same positions we do regarding open access to digital knowledge.
Wikimedia CH’s 2019 work with the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) stands as one of our foremost examples of how one new contact can catalyze unforeseen new opportunities. From our contact with EPFL’s Senior Philanthropy Officer, we made four further connections that led to or are likely to lead to exciting new collaborations with the university. Our new partnership with Dr. Alain Dufaux, the expert responsible for digitalizing the archives of the Montreux Jazz Festival, led to a GLAM + Wikidata project that will be implemented in 2020. Our chapter also met EPFL’s Vice President of Education, Pierre Vandergheynst, for the first time, as well as staff with LEARN, EPFL’s new Center for Learning Sciences. Finally, we met the current and future presidents of the EPFL student association. We are exploring ways to facilitate edit-a-thons and a data group for students. We conducted some pilot workshops in 2019 and will be evaluating how to pursue further partnerships with all of these new contacts.
Besides the EFPL, we interacted with many existing partners in 2019 and had first encounters with new ones. For example, we collaborated with SCI Switzerland to host the Wikipedia for Peace event described previously in the Program Education section. We defined a new working relationship with longtime partner OpenStreetMap and worked on the Castles Dossier project described in the Program Community section. Plus, members of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies attended a Wikidata workshop in 2019 and are collaborating with us on new events for 2020.
Also, at a brainstorming meeting for the Swiss National Library, we met the founder of Foraus, a Swiss think tank on foreign policy, and discussed the potential for collaborative projects. It led to Wikipedia in Science: An Introduction to the Growing Use of Digital Platforms. This meeting allowed participants to discuss how digital platforms, and particularly Wikimedia projects, offer industries opportunities to gain practical insights and give workers new skills for the digital age.
Through all our collaborations and, indeed, all our national and international work, Wikimedia CH advances the Wikimedia Movement. We are committed to preparing all our community members for the digital and technical revolutions that institutes of learning and workplaces are currently facing and must embrace. And we serve as a trusted partner on issues concerning free, open and unbiased knowledge.
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