Wikimedia Conference 2015/Programme/16
16: Working on Public & Regulatory Policy (Government Relations)
How to move forward
- What was this session about?
Three groups presented their advocacy efforts and gathered first input for a Movement-wide advocacy strategy
- What are the next steps to be taken?
We are gathering input for a Movement-wide advocacy strategy, which will be discussed in Mexico City with WMF Legal. Please provide your input on Advocacy/Movement Goals
- Who is the person to reach out to?
- For the EU-related advocacy work, reach out to Dimi.
- For any other policy issue, don't hesitate to get in touch with the WMF Legal Team
This session documentation was approved by one of the speakers.
- Original Description
- Effective advocacy work requires acquiring in-depth thematic knowledge and coupling it with carefully targeted actions. It also requires specific communication skills on a personal level and in influencing the long-term public narrative. We want to share our experience and present our newly written how-to guides, examples and tips to less experienced affiliates. We also want to offer ourselves and the Advocacy Advisors mailing list as a global support helpline for policy action related questions.
- Desired Outcome
- hared advice and experiences on working with your government; How-tos and Advocacy Tools are presented and popularised
- Affiliates' public policy/government relations people/interested in public policy
- Session Format
- Presentation, discussion, brainstorm; 90 min
- Dimitar Dimitrov (FKAGEU), John Sadowski (WMUS-DC), Itzik Edri (WMIL)
- Summary of the session
Three groups presented their advocacy efforts in this session. After a short introduction, Itzik took over and talked about the experiences of Wikimedia Israel.
Itzik, Chairperson and Spokesperson of Wikimedia Israel, introduced his part by pointing out how important communication is, as people needed to know what Wikimedia is doing. He explained that WMIL already conducted different projects (like Editathons, e.g.) with several ministries, e.g. Foreign Affairs, Education, Culture, etc. These kind of projects had essential benefits for both sides, as WMIL learned how to work with government institutions, while, on the other side, ministries got good press articles and an impression of Wikimedia.
He further explained how WMIL advocated for a new PDGov law. One important way was to show ministers their Wikipedia articles, which only cointained pictures taken by US authorities. Furthermore, a simply line-up how many files were provided through US authorities and other (foreign) state institutions, helped to impress politicians a lot.
Then, John from Wikimedia DC presented their experiences. The chapter has a public policy committee, whose members visit regularly (often together with WMF staffers) congress people to educate them about Wikipedia itself and the Wikimedia issues. Furthermore, the chapter makes policy recommendations or advices to the congress. Last year’s issues were TPP, copyright reform (especially term extensions), orphan works and mass digitisation.
Dimi presented the third part about the work the Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU (FKAGEU) had done in the last three years. The whole process started three years ago with a meeting of Wikimedia volunteers and staff members interested in advocacy issues, initiated by Wikimedia Deutschland. The group defined their three main goals to work on: Freedom of Panorama, government works in the public domain (PDGov) and orphan works. At the moment, the copyright form is the group’s main target. Dimi explained the “fight” over the the Freedom of Panorama working through several amendments. Dimi pointed out that it were necessary to show that Freedom of Panorama is not just a sole case, but a cross border issue and it’s doable.
One participant asked Dimi what were the best way to change a law. Dimi explained that it is absolutely necessary to know exactly what is to be changed and then come up with convincing arguments. The next steps were then to arrange meetings with decision makers and write position papers. However, following the motto “constant dripping wears away the stone” keep persistent were one of the most important aspects of advocacy works.
After presenting each group’s efforts, it was explained that at Wikimania the WMF legal team will kick off the discussion of some core policy areas. As these are broad issues that require some thought and time to analyse, the chapter representatives invited everyone to start gathering input can fuel the conversation in Mexico and help to make progress. The group of participants discussed first ideas for the Copyright and Censorship topics.