Supporting Others Who Support Free Knowledge: Wikimedia Foundation’s Global Advocacy Team Announces Four Sponsorship Commitments

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Eric Luth at the opening ceremony of Wikimania 2019 in Stockholm. Image by Vysotsky; CC BY-SA 4.0.

The Wikimedia Foundation’s Global Advocacy and Public Policy team is excited to announce our sponsorship of four events: three of which we have never sponsored before. By means of this support, we are giving back to the larger community of digital rights activists and civil society organizations who advocate for policy frameworks and regulations that support human rights on the internet. Through active participation in these events, our movement will help develop policies that advance free knowledge, while also expanding access to knowledge and promoting knowledge equity in historically underserved regions, as identified in our 2030 Movement Strategy.  

Read on to learn more about the events that we are supporting, what support we are providing to each, and how you can participate.

Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (April)

The Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF), hosted by the Paradigm Initiative, will bring together digital rights activists and scholars from across Africa in online and in-person events to work towards a digitally inclusive and rights-respecting future. The Wikimedia Foundation will provide financial assistance to cover internet access costs for some registered attendees participating in online events. This contribution will reduce the financial barriers that could prevent greater access to and participation in the Forum among African civil society groups.

  • Dates: 12 April to 20 May 2022
  • Format: Virtual and in-person(see agenda for distributed sessions across Africa)
  • View: Follow Paradigm Initiative’s YouTube channel here

C20 Global Civil Society Forum (April)

Our global reach will further expand with the Wikimedia Foundation’s support of the C20, the global civil society forum that runs parallel to the Group of 20 (G20) economic forum. The 2022 process is hosted by Indonesia and will convene civil society organizations from around the world to discuss issues related to digital transformation and inequities, among other topics. The Foundation will provide financial assistance for logistics and participate in the Working Group on Digitalization, Education, and Global Citizenship. This partnership will empower civil society, including our movement, to help develop policy recommendations presented to the 20 largest economies in the world on issues relating to free knowledge and internet regulation. 

The Foundation’s Rachel Arinii Judhistari, public policy specialist for Asia, will represent us during these engagements from April to May 2022, and will advance our vision for a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. Watch the C20 kick-off meeting here, and stay up-to-date on C20 activities by checking out C20 news here

  • Dates: 4 April to 20 May 2022
  • Format: Virtual and in-person

More Transparency in Content Moderation: How Do We Achieve It? (May)

We also look forward to collaborating with the Observatorio Latinoamericano de Regulación, Medios y Convergencia (OBSERVACOM) to hold an event marking World Press Freedom Day in Punta del Este, Uruguay, on 1 May 2022. The event will explore transparency and accountability around online platforms’ content moderation practices and the ethical use of online user data. The aim of this event is to enhance debate around these issues in Latin America, so that civil society groups and their allies can better anticipate and respond to undemocratic regulations in the region. Raising awareness and building coalitions around these issues is increasingly important as governments in the region seek to regulate online platforms. A proposed regulation in Chile is an example of one such initiative, which caused concern for the Wikimedia Foundation and free knowledge movement at large. Our team looks forward to leading conversations around smart legislation that protects the rights of Wikimedians to enforce their own community standards.

  • Date: 1 May 2022
  • Format: Virtual and in-person
  • Registration: To be announced

RightsCon 2022 (June)

Finally, the Foundation will continue to support and participate in RightsCon, the world’s leading summit on human rights in the digital age, hosted by AccessNow. Every year, RightsCon convenes civil society, governments, tech companies, and human rights activists from around the world to debate and identify potential solutions around the emerging challenges to a free and open internet. These include: privacy and surveillance, internet access, inclusion, and internet shutdowns and disruptions. The organizers of RightsCon accepted five proposals for sessions submitted by the Wikimedia Foundation, two of which were co-created with Wikimedia volunteers. Our support this year is unique in that the Foundation has contributed to the conference’s Connectivity and Accessibility funds. This support will help to make the conference accessible in more languages and across more devices, while also supporting internet connectivity for grassroots actors to participate in the virtual events.

  • Dates: 6–11 June 2022
  • Format: Virtual
  • Registration: open now, details here

If you are interested in learning more about these and similar events, follow the Global Advocacy and Public Policy team on Twitter to stay up-to-date on public policy that affects free knowledge.

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