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Goals: Protect the the model, the people, and the values of our movement

Screenshot describing WMF "protect" model, which informs the Foundation's public policy priorities.

To champion and and advance free knowledge around the world, we protect the people, the model, and the values of the free knowledge movement.

  • Protect the model of volunteer-led governance of Wikimedia’s free knowledge projects by promoting access to knowledge and free expression, modern copyright rules for the digital age, and strong intermediary protections.
  • Protect the people in our communities by advocating for robust privacy rights and taking action against mass surveillance.
  • Protect the values of the Wikimedia movement, leading by example in defending the human rights of people who interact with Wikimedia projects and taking action to counter disinformation.

We recognize that Wikipedia is part of, and also depends upon, a much broader ecosystem of knowledge consumption, production, and dissemination. That's why we support volunteers and allied organizations around the world to advocate for laws and policies that enable a strong, diverse knowledge ecosystem that protects and respects human rights and supports the global free flow of information.

If you are looking to work with us, want to learn how we can support you, or are unsure whether you need support from Legal or Policy, please see this page.

5 Policy Priorities

We focus on five policy areas that directly affect the people, model, and values of the free knowledge movement. You can read more information about our priorities.

Copyright Copyright matters because overly aggressive enforcement of copyright laws blocks people from speaking freely. Laws and policies must balance protecting the incentive to create with preserving free speech in order for Wikimedia projects to thrive.
Liability Protections There are laws and policies that would hold Wikimedia liable for third-party content like Wikipedia articles and photographs. If Wikimedia was held liable every time a user contributed something inaccurate or upsetting, we wouldn’t be able to maintain and grow the world’s largest free encyclopedia.
Surveillance Mass surveillance robs people on our projects of privacy, safety, and freedom - especially people in vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. We must change the deeply invasive surveillance programs around the world to make sure our people are protected.
Human Rights There are volunteers working on Wikimedia projects who are exposed to human rights risks because of their work. Knowledge equity is not possible if this is the case. We must make sure we do everything we can to protect, respect, and advance human rights on our projects.
Disinformation Disinformation is a danger to democratic processes and human rights around the world, but the wrong response to disinformation can threaten freedom of expression. We must tackle disinformation on our projects and make sure disinformation policies around the world protect freedom of expression.

Your help is welcome. If you are organizing (or want to organize) a policy action that correlates to one of these five policy areas, please contact us at globaladvocacy(_AT_)wikimedia(_DOT_)org.

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  • Rebecca MacKinnon (she/her), VP of Global Advocacy (rmackinnon(_AT_)wikimedia(_DOT_)org): Rebecca is an experienced advocate for privacy rights and media freedom who has had a long career in journalism, academia and public policy. As the Foundation's first-ever Vice President for Global Advocacy, she provides strategic leadership and direction on efforts to support the global movement of Wikimedia volunteers by promoting free expression and addressing national and regulatory threats that prevent access to knowledge. You can learn more about her from her profile or announcement.
  • Jan Gerlach (he/him), Public Policy Director (jgerlach(_AT_)wikimedia(_DOT_)org): Jan leads our efforts to educate lawmakers and governments around the world about positive internet policy that promotes and protects Wikipedia and participation in knowledge. He steers the regional- and context-specific policy work of our public policy specialists. Learn more about Jan in his own words.
  • Allison Davenport (she/her), Manager, Public Policy Research and Analysis (adavenport(_AT_)wikimedia(_DOT_)org): Allison works on domestic and global policy issues related to copyright, intermediary liability, and freedom of expression. She helps develop value-based public policy positions while overseeing policy research and academic fellowships. Learn more about Allison in her own words.
  • Richard ("Ricky") Gaines (he/him), Senior Human Rights Advocacy Manager (rgaines(_AT_)wikimedia(_DOT_)org): Ricky leads the Advocacy and Activism team in strengthening the roles of the Movement and Foundation in advocating for public policies that support and protect human rights globally. He develops external and internal advocacy strategies that support and protect human rights of all members of the Wikimedia movement and also drives the implementation of the Human Rights Policy, including coordinating human rights impact assessments across Wikimedia projects. As part of this work, he works with staff and volunteers in the wider Wikimedia community. Learn more about Ricky in his own words.
Contact Ricky for: anything related to the Foundation's Human Rights Policy.
  • Franziska ("Ziski") Putz (she/her), Senior Movement Advocacy Manager (fputz(_AT_)wikimedia(_DOT_)org): Ziski is in charge of driving community engagement around public policy. She works with community members to co-create capacity building and awareness programs so that Wikimedians around the world can leverage their voices to advocate for their own communities. Ziski also runs our community-facing communications including blogs and conversation hours. Learn more about Ziski in her own words.
Contact Ziski for: anything related to working with the public policy team – public policy advocacy grants, a campaign idea, workshop request, desire for more information, or feedback on how we can improve our partnership with the community.
  • Amalia Toledo (she/her), Lead Public Policy Specialist for Latin America & the Caribbean (atoledo(_AT_)wikimedia(_DOT_)org): Amalia is our expert on public policy for Latin America & the Caribbean. She works with allied organizations and community members across the region to keep a pulse on country-specific issues related to free knowledge. Learn more about Amalia in her own words.
Contact Amalia for: public policy issues, speaking opportunities, or advocacy campaigns related to digital rights in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Stan Adams (he/him), Lead Public Policy Specialist for North America, (sadams(_AT_)wikimedia(_DOT_)org): Stan is our expert on public policy for North America. He works with allied organizations and community members across the region to keep a pulse on country-specific issues related to free knowledge.
Contact Stan for: public policy issues, speaking opportunities, or advocacy campaigns related to digital rights in North America.
  • Rachel Judhistari(女性)、アジア担当主任、公共方針専門(rjudhistari(_AT_)wikimedia(_DOT_)org): アジア担当の公共政策専門職は Rachel です。広く担当地域の趣旨に賛同する機関やコミュニティ参加者の皆さんや政策策定担当者と協働し、無料の知識のために実現するべき議題の保守に努めています。
  • Costanza Sciubba Caniglia (she/her), Anti-Disinformation Strategy Lead (csciubbacaniglia(_AT_)wikimedia(_DOT_)org): Costanza leads our efforts on anti-Disinformation and information integrity. She is responsible for coordinating across the Foundation on disinformation, liaising with the communities and affiliates, and maintaining open lines of communication with governments, civil society organizations, and academia. She works with these partners to advocate for effective policy responses to disinformation that support and protect free knowledge.
Contact Costanza for: anything related to information integrity or disinformation, speaking opportunities, or volunteer-led efforts to fight disinformation on Wiki.
  • Miguelángel ("Miguel") Verde Garrido (he/him), Senior Editor, Global Advocacy (mverde-ctr(_AT_)wikimedia(_DOT_)org): Miguel supports the ability of the team to communicate their efforts at global advocacy and helping develop public policy worldwide in a clear, accurate, and compelling manner. He manages, coordinates, and edits the team’s publications and communications for diverse audiences of external and internal stakeholders. Learn more about Miguel in his own words.
Contact Miguel for: anything related to publishing opportunities for the team and its members.
  • Katherine ("Kat") Gatewood (she/her), Senior Operations Manager (kgatewood(_AT_)wikimedia(_DOT_)org). Kat helps to manage team expansion, drive strategic planning, put systems and processes in place to manage the work within the team as well as across other teams and departments, and refine our approaches to collaborating effectively with external partners. Learn more about Kat in her own words.
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Method and activities

  • What do we do? The Global Advocacy team monitors, analyzes, and provides input on laws, policies, and practices that impact the Wikimedia projects and the broader Wikimedia movement. This includes a wide array of activities, including: tracking and providing comments on proposed laws; talking to governments and intergovernmental bodies; joining industry and civil society coalitions; conducting research about effective regulation; and, working with community leaders to address their policy concerns.
  • Why do we do it? We imagine “a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.” This is an ambitious goal, and one which requires certain legal and political conditions to thrive. The simple act of sharing knowledge freely online is radical and challenging in many contexts. Volunteers face barriers on our own projects, as well as external barriers caused by weak or hostile policy environments. For example, some government regulations restrict the ability to critique the government or force volunteers to reveal their identity when they share information online. Disinformation campaigns are a growing challenge to sharing verifiable knowledge and maintaining public trust. This is why the Wikimedia Foundation and broader community engage in advocacy and public policy work. Together, we stand for policies that support and protect peoples’ right to freely access and share knowledge, and we stand against policies which may be harmful to this vision.
  • How do we do it? The team considers several factors when deciding whether to engage in advocacy regarding a particular issue or at a particular time. To determine relevance, we may look at the impact of an issue on the people in the movement, the model by which our platform is organized, or the values we hold as a movement. We also look for opportunities where our movement, model, or values can bring something unique to a policy conversation or have a particularly strong impact. Finally, we work closely with the regional community to identify issues that are particularly relevant to their work in the movement.
Definitions of the difference between 'public policy advocacy' and 'advocacy', 2024
  • What is the difference between 'public policy' and 'advocacy'? Public policy advocacy is the work to shape a legal environment, including national and international law, trade agreements, human rights frameworks, and other regulations and norms set by governments and lawmakers. The end-goal must be to influence the regulatory ecosystem in which our movement exists. Advocacy is more general. It refers to any action to support or change policies on a given topic. That topic could range from salary equity to sustainability standards. Likewise, the target policies can be of any institution, whether those of a GLAM institution or codes of conduct on a given website. Advocacy can encompass many tactics, from protesting on the street to sharing infographics on social media or hosting a webinar.

Examples of our Work

Public policy and advocacy work is not always straightforward. What do we actually do when we say 'public policy and advocacy work'? We monitor policy developments, meet regularly with allied organizations, policy makers and legislators. We share how proposed legislations would impact WMF by writing articles and blogs, signing open letters, joining podcast discussions, and attending regional workshops. At major international conferences, we remind the world that open knowledge is a public good that has to be protected.

To learn more about what we do on a monthly basis, check-out our monthly retrospectives. Highlights include: The EU Digital Services Act, Myanmar Draft Cybersecurity Law, the EARN IT Act in the USA, and our work with Wikimedians to help them gain representation at UN agencies, counter a Chilean bill, and jointly advance the Foundation-wide Human Rights Policy.

Watch and listen to our team in action to learn more about what we do:

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Get involved

There are many ways to work with our team! Visit the Get Involved page to learn about grants and see examples of previous collaborations with Wikimedians.

For any other questions please e-mail globaladvocacy(_AT_)wikimedia(_DOT_)org.