Petition to lift Wikipedia block in Turkey

Wikimedia Foundation petitions the European Court of Human Rights to lift the block of Wikipedia in Turkey

At the Wikimedia Foundation, we believe that free access to knowledge and freedom of expression are fundamental human rights. We believe that when people have good information, they can make better decisions. Free access to information creates economic opportunity and empowers people to build sustainable livelihoods. Knowledge makes our societies more informed, more connected, and more equitable.

Over the past two years, we have seen governments censor Wikipedia, including in Turkey and most recently in China, denying these rights to millions of people around the world.


Today, we proceed to the European Court of Human Rights, an international court which hears cases of human rights violations within the Council of Europe, to ask the Court to lift the more than two-year block of Wikipedia in Turkey. We are taking this action as part of our continued commitment to knowledge and freedom of expression as fundamental rights for every person.

This is not a step we have taken lightly; we are doing so only after continued and exhaustive attempts to lift the block through legal action in the Turkish courts, good faith conversations with the Turkish authorities, and campaigns to raise awareness of the block and its impact on Turkey and the rest of the world.

Despite these efforts, Wikipedia continues to be blocked in Turkey after more than two years.

For more information, please visit the Wikimedia Foundation.


Annual Report 2018


Last year was defined by strategic action and Wikimedia CH built on strong foundations established in 2017, while benefiting from key learnings that will shape activities going forward.

This year was the first full year that the strategic action plans of GLAM and Education, two of Wikimedia CH’s three impact directions outlined in the 2017-2020 strategy, were implemented. As a result, both focus areas saw strengthened ties and expanded impact throughout the country.

For the third consecutive year, we organised successful GLAM on Tour events, including the first event of its kind in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. By partnering with MAMCO in Geneva and Migros in Zurich, Wikimedia CH engaged community members while helping protect and disseminate Swiss cultural heritage on Wikimedia projects. We also leveraged the nation-wide campaign #CulturalHeritage2018 to reach new audiences.

The Education programmes continued to build on last year’s successes, with increased collaboration with WikiToLearn and Devoxx4Kids, as well as engagement at events like Media in Piazza to teach young people key digital skills and media literacy. We further contributed to several hackathons and workshops in partnership with universities, which demonstrated to students and professionals alike the value of Wikimedia projects to their work.

Wikimedia CH also supported several Community events at the regional, national and international levels. Most notable were the German-, French- and Italian-speaking WikiCons, including the first ever WikiCon held in Switzerland. We also saw traction through smaller events that targeted specific audiences, such as those focusing Wikidata and aimed towards data-enthusiasts.

Last but not last, we have made great strides to position Wikimedia CH as a trusted resource around policy decisions related to Copyright. Working at both the national and European levels, we aim to become a recognized partner for a free, open and fair internet.

I am happy to see the enormous progress our association has made in 2018 and look forward to building on this strong foundation in the year to come.

 Bagawathram Ram Maheswaran




Jenny Ebermann CEO2018 was a year of both progress and learning at Wikimedia CH. It was marked by steps forward in all areas of our organisation, while also bringing to light a few challenges.

On the human side, we had several changes in our staff, which created both instability and opportunity for our small organisation. After investing significant time and resources to fill open positions, we welcomed two new team members: Andy Treichler, Communications & Outreach Manager (90%) and Oliver Rölli, Communication, Admin. & Fundraising Officer (60%). Meanwhile, the departure of our Finance and HR Manager pushed us to revisit and externalise several processes and workflows. While the HR side of the organisation wasn’t always easy, it also saw some improvements with the implementation of mindful HR policies that adhere to GDPR and encourage transparency. We also put into place clear overtime processes, better compensation guidelines and new reporting structures, which allow us to work more efficiently and effectively.

In terms of the organisation itself, 2018 saw the election of two new Board members, plus a new President. We also worked closely with specialised lawyers to meet GDPR standards even before they come into effect in Switzerland.

The most significant progress made in 2018 was around our programmes, which have all moved forward a great deal in the past year. With a new strategy for both GLAM and Education, the two impact directions have gained traction with cultural and educational institutions throughout Switzerland. GLAM in particular saw expanded activities in different regions and among more diverse institutions. Meanwhile, implementation of the Education strategy provided several opportunities to collaborate with key players in the primary, secondary and tertiary education sectors, as well as beyond the typical schooling career to lifelong learning.

On the Community side, a highlight this year was the first ever German-speaking WikiConference held in St. Gallen Switzerland; Wikimedia CH would like to thank again all of its volunteers who helped make this conference an enormous success! What is more, WMCH also participated in the French- and Italian-speaking WikiCons. These events serve to both exemplify and strengthen the ties Wikimedia CH is building with neighboring Chapters.

As a not-for-profit organisation, WMCH relies on individual and organisational donors to fund its programmes and projects. In 2018, we focused on creating strong foundations for our fundraising efforts through the development of dedicated materials such as a “Case for Support” and a fundraising brochure. We also began building and nurturing face-to-face relationships with potential donors and partners through “friendraising” events and other outreach. Connection and relationship-building was also critical to our Partnership & Outreach direction, which led to several high-level contacts with key players in policy and copyright.

Overall, we are pleased with the progress we made in 2018 and look forward to taking our learnings with us into 2019.


Jenny Ebermann






Wikimedia CH uses the image of a house to represent its impact directions for the 2017-2020 strategic period.

The roof of the house represents our mission of curating and disseminating free knowledge. The house itself is made up of Wikimedia CH’s three impact directions: Education, GLAM and Community.

Supporting those impact directions are our three enablers of Communication, Diversity and  Technology/Know-how. These enablers will allow us to evaluate whether a project/programme should be integrated into our Annual Plan or not.

The wall of the house represents Wikimedia CH’s processes (policies, financial, guidelines, ICT, etc.), soft skills (human resources, people development) and tools. The windows of our house are transparent and indicate good governance. There are no hidden closets or pitfalls.

The foundation of the house is a solid legal background that allows the house to rest securely and sustainably. Outside of the house, our neighbors are like-minded organisations, other Chapters, the Wiki Universe and, of course, the Wikimedia Foundation.





(Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums)

GLAM not only accumulate knowledge in a variety of forms, they also protect and share Swiss cultural heritage. Due to their importance as a bearer of knowledge and culture, GLAM is one of Wikimedia CH’s strategic impact directions.

Partnering with cultural institutions allows Wikimedia CH to enable the sharing of knowledge and resources by helping digitise Swiss heritage, therefore preserving Swiss art and culture.

In 2018, we worked to build awareness of Wikimedia CH among GLAM across Switzerland, as well as strengthen existing partnerships and forge new ones with both major institutions and small GLAM.




GLAM not only accumulate knowledge in a variety of forms, they also protect and share Swiss cultural heritage. Due to their importance as a bearer of knowledge and culture, GLAM is one of Wikimedia CH’s strategic impact directions.

Partnering with cultural institutions allows Wikimedia CH to enable the sharing of knowledge and resources by helping digitise Swiss heritage, therefore preserving Swiss art and culture.

In 2018, we worked to build awareness of Wikimedia CH among GLAM across Switzerland, as well as strengthen existing partnerships and forge new ones with both major institutions and small GLAM.



In 2018, two GLAM On Tour events took place in the French- and German-speaking regions of Switzerland. This was the third consecutive year we have organised such events, continuing our strategic focus on partnering with GLAM and opening their collections up to the public.



In collaboration with ‘Migros Kulturprozent’, a dozen Wikipedians had the unique opportunity to peek into the archive of Switzerland’s biggest food retailer, Migros AG, in Zurich. The private archive hosts an abundance of precious documents, dossiers and photographs connected to the impressive history of the retailer and its founder, who held the philosophy of an open society that provides free common spaces for people of all ages to meet, discuss and discover.

Participants also visited the Migros Museum, the ‘Gottlieb Duttweiler Institut’– Switzerland’s oldest think-tank, and the ‘Orange Garden’ close to the ‘Park im Grüene’.

Two panel discussions, which were open to the public, covered the “openness of Swiss company archives” and “How Wikipedia works.” With a Hackathon and Edit-a-thons that stretched over the weekend, participants helped enrich Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons. Altogether, participants uploaded around 200 photos to Commons, while Wikipedia saw the creation of 21 new articles and the improvement of 14 existing articles.



2018 saw the first ever GLAM On Tour event in the Romandie region. In collaboration with the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMCO), participants discovered Switzerland’s biggest and most influential modern and contemporary art museum, based in Geneva.

More than 15 participants learned about the MAMCO’s history, building and collections through various speeches and a tour by the chief curator through the permanent and temporary exhibitions, including a retrospective of the work of Rasheed Araeen. The museum’s director also gave a presentation about decentralisation in contemporary art and the challenges a contemporary art museum faces.

To show its appreciation for our volunteer community’s work, MAMCO gave us the rights to use all of its photos and donated 40 iconographic images under a free license to be uploaded in Wikimedia Commons. Different edit-a-thons that took place over the weekend processed the new images and learnings. The topic and visits also sparked interesting discussions during the Saturday evening boat tour with dinner on Lake Geneva.


Archives Cantonal Vaudoises

The “Archives Cantonales Vaudoises” are a place of memories and knowledge, building the bridge between the administration of the Vaud canton and its citizens, as well as between heritage and historical research.

Wikimedia CH collaborates with the archives to disseminate archival holdings to Wikimedia projects, such as Wikimedia Commons. In 2018, this continued collaboration translated into the upload of archaeological photographic documents to Commons, including the full collection of photographs taken by early archaeologists such as Albert Naef.

2018 also saw a roundtable discussion between a monument historian, an archivist, the director of an archaeological museum and an art history teacher, which explored heritage conservation and promotion, including uploading photographs to Wikimedia Commons. An adjoined workshop taught around 30 participants how to use pictures from Wikimedia Commons on Wikipedia.

The Archives Cantonal Vaudoises are also now part of the Wiki Coordination Group, which allows for regular exchange and furthers their long-standing collaboration with Wikimedia CH.


Bibliothèque de la Cité

The “City Library” is part of the municipal institutions of Geneva and is a cultural project that aims to change the way people access knowledge and information. Since October 2018, the library has hosted a series of workshops, led by Wikimedia CH staff and community members, that serve to introduce people interested in Geneva’s districts and institutions to the use of Wikipedia. The goal was to improve and increase Geneva’s presence on the encyclopaedia.

The workshop series has so far led to 5 newly-created articles and the revision and improvement of 47 existing articles. The workshops will continue into 2019 in the hope that this series of beginner- level workshops kick-starts a long-term collaboration with the library.


Bibliothekstag in Thun

On November 6, “Bibliothekstag,” or “Library Day,” took place with the motto “#library #information #media – mediation of competencies through libraries.” With a focus on information and media literacy, it underlined that these skills are critical in today’s society.

Different presentations and workshops aimed to provide valuable and up-to-date knowledge around the use of media in the digital age. Another major point on the agenda were five parallel workshops that provided participants with the possibility to learn about various online tools, including Wikipedia. Ulrich Lantermann, a long-time Wikipedian and Wikimedia CH employee, provided participants with a deeper view on how Wikipedia works, its community of volunteers and its core values.



Wikimedia CH used International Museums Day as an occasion to reach out to the Association of Swiss Museums (Museumsverband) and to Swiss museums themselves. With the motto “tag, share, like – the hyperconnected museum,” more than 150 Swiss museums opened their doors to the public and discussed the topic of hyper connectivity in museums with their visitors.

As only half of the participating museums were present on Wikimedia projects and very few had a multilingual presence, Wikimedia CH launched an awareness campaign to improve the presence of Swiss museums on Wikipedia.

The campaign included a project web page with an interactive museums map that visualised the coverage of Swiss museums on Wikipedia. The map was developed in collaboration with Synapta and is based on Wikidata records, which is continuously kept up to date. Meanwhile, a banner on Wikipedia highlighted International Museums Day and linked to the project page.

We reached out to the museums with a physical mailing that included an awareness letter concerning museums’ presence on Wikipedia, a fact-sheet about the association and our work for cultural institutions, graphs depicting coverage vs. page views and a printed QR-Code to be used for their exhibition to facilitate discussion with visitors. The QR-Code was either leading to the museum’s Wikipedia article (if available) or to Wikimedia CH’s project page explaining the situation and inciting people to get involved.

The campaign was a starting point for further collaboration, while the map is a tool to encourage the creation of Wikimedia content tied to Swiss museums. The evolution of the map is also a reflection of the community working towards better coverage of articles in this area.

  • Number of people reached in Switzerland: 4’548
  • Around 100 participants to the opening ceremony



The fourth Open Cultural Data Hackathon took place on 26-28 October 2018 at the Swiss National Museum in Zurich in cooperation with the ETH Library, Zentralbibliothek Zürich, the Swiss Social Archives, the State Archives of the Canton of Zurich, the Basel Historical Museum, Wikimedia CH, and the members of the Friends of OpenGLAM Network.

The GLAMhack event aims to bring together heritage institutions such as museums, libraries and archives with software developers, researchers, Wikipedians and artists to collectively explore the potential of digital heritage and open cultural data. For the first time, #GLAMhack was hosted by a museum, presenting an occasion to encourage more museums to participate as data providers.

This year’s focus was on creating software or tools that engage audiences – either online or in the form of exhibits/installations. The two hackathon days were followed by a public project presentation event on Sunday afternoon, where visitors had the possibility to test the products and meet their creators. Symbolic prizes were awarded to the best projects in several categories.

Wikimedia CH was a sponsor of 2018’s GLAMhack, while employees participated in the challenges. As a result of great interaction with key players in the cultural and open data spheres, we aim to become even more involved in next year’s edition.



Supporting cultural institutions by monitoring the impact of Wikimedia projects

An important part of the GLAM strategy is the ability to measure impact. Due to demand from Swiss heritage institutions, Wikimedia CH launched a project to develop a GLAM Statistical Tool with the aim of providing a statistical overview of Wikimedia contributions and impact.

The GLAM Statistical Tool was developed in cooperation with the Laboratory of visual culture at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUSPI) and Synapta, a spin-off of Centro Nexa of the Polytechnic University of Turin.

The first version of the GLAM Statistical Tool was launched at the WikiCon in Berlin 2018 to the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF). It has received attention and interest from the WMF to further develop it to make it accessible to cultural institutions in other countries.

By using the statistical too, GLAM have access to impact data through an innovative and visual interface, which allows an easy interpretation of the mass data processed in the back-end. This allows for both monitoring and quality assurance related to the organisation of content and categories. The tool visualises and analyses the usage of content in different language versions of Wikimedia projects directly linked to the respective articles. It also visualises page views, highlighting popular content, as well as metadata that could be improved or new categories to be created.

With this tool, institutions can make better decisions regarding their contributions and content on Wikimedia projects. By using the insights gained with the GLAM statistical tool, they can achieve a more balanced presence on Wikipedia and its sister projects.

In 2018, Wikimedia CH launched a new release of the tool, which included a personal login for each participating GLAM institution. Currently, the focus is to evaluate and develop the tool in a way that brings it to a large number of countries and institutions easily and at minimum cost. It is also indispensable to provide institutions with a maximum level of administrative autonomy.



In 2018, Switzerland carried out the campaign #CulturalHeritage2018 within the framework of the European Year of Cultural Heritage and under the patronage of Mr. Alain Berset. Wikimedia CH was an official partner of #CulturalHeritage2018 and took part in the official kick-off event in Bern.

The aim of the Year of Cultural Heritage was to underline the significance of cultural heritage for individuals and society alike, shedding light on its potential to shape the future in a sustainable and democratic way. In that regard, the GLAM On Tour event in Zurich and the International Museums Day were both promoted through the agenda on the #CulturalHeritage2018 website. Events were included in the weekly newsletter providing a condensed view of projects and activities from all partners and sponsors.



The Swiss Foundation Public Domain holds an important collection of more than 85’000 gramophone records and 2’000 phonograph cylinders and is specialised in the conservation and utilisation of public domain music and film material.

2018 was a busy year for the Foundation, with the support of Wikimedia CH. After having moved the store of shellac records to a new location, the second half of 2018 was used to consolidate and regain momentum. A basic workflow for inventory and digitisation was conceived and executed, and a new team member was brought onboard, resulting in more than 2’600 record labels being photographed and transcribed.

Based on this inventory and more than 600 digitised sound tracks, the Swiss Foundation Public domain launched a website reflecting the Foundation’s work through 2018. The whole process— from inventory through digitisation to publication— is now supported by software that automatically generates thumbnails from photographs, turns them into rotating GIFs and transmits them to a bilingual web site that communicates with a database of searchable metadata and the repository. The Foundation also uploaded more than 200 FLAC files to Wikimedia Commons.







Education is one of Wikimedia CH’s impact directions and is considered to be an important topic among the Wikimedia Foundation, Chapters and community alike. In today’s information-driven society, the Swiss education system recognises the need to teach students essential digital skills in order to build a technically literate Swiss workforce. Classrooms need to incorporate new technology to keep up with online media and the web. What’s more, with Wikipedia quickly becoming the go-to resource for online research, educational institutions are looking to integrate Wikimedia projects into their curricula to encourage better use of online information.

In 2018, Switzerland accepted the introduction of “Media and Informatics” as mandatory lessons in schools. According to “Curricula 21,” knowledge of underlying technologies and computational concepts is a prerequisite for the responsible use of media. Wikimedia CH therefore focused on joining forces with players in the secondary and tertiary sectors, as well as lifelong education, to present Wikimedia projects as go-to resources for digital education. Through ongoing projects, Wikimedia CH experienced that context-based learning and positive connotation of STEM foster apprenticeship and ultimately the development of 21st century skills.



Wikimedia CH’s strategic educational framework covers the entire cycle from primary to secondary to tertiary education, and beyond to lifelong learning, a Wikimedia certification path and digital innovation. The framework gives an idea of how schools might convey essential digital skills in order to prepare young people for the challenges of the future. Its goal therefore reads as follows:

“Wikimedia CH’s goal is to raise visibility and engagement in educational institutions so that Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects become go-to resources for objective information and learning. We also aim to help students build skills such as using digital tools, managing information and critical analysis by encouraging them to write their own history using or contributing to Wikimedia projects.”

With a strategic framework and initial action plan in place, the focus in 2018 was to evaluate past and ongoing projects and collaborations to not only ensure they serve defined objectives, but also to re-evaluate the scope of lifelong learning and reorganise open education and associated material. The latter is currently being developed in collaboration with three teachers.



At the end of September, Wikimedia CH participated in the 4th edition of Media in Piazza. The event gathered young people to learn about digital media and the Web as a tool for work and reflection to better understand humanity’s daily digital experience. It also was a day of immersion into new technologies. This year’s topic covered “fake news” and how to identify wrongs from rights in today’s digital information streams.

Approximately 200 students gathered at the Covered Market in Mendrisio to participate in different workshops to learn about fake news and information literacy, inviting them to look critically at their relationship with the ocean of information and news they encounter on a daily basis.

Under the motto “#butisittrue?” participants learned what it means to be able to find information on the internet, how to identify fake news by avoiding traps and how much news is really worth today. They were also provided with insights into the work of information professionals.

As in 2017, Wikimedia organised a “Treasure Hunt,” whereby students were given statements which they had to evaluate as being true or false. This was done in a programming language style through the use of the logical connectors of AND/OR. At the beginning, this kind of statement was tricky for some, but ultimately taught participants about computing languages. The exercise went very much into “Computational Thinking,” which is part of different digital education curricula in Europe.

Wikimedia CH’s participation in Media in Piazza shows how Wikimedia projects can support the emerging awareness and introduction of media and computer science education starting as early as primary school.



Wikimedia CH collaborates with the University of Zurich and other relevant partners in the Zurich area to build a local community of Wikidata enthusiasts, starting with universities.

The collaboration this year started with a Wikidata initiation workshop and continued with the Wikidata Zurich Datathon at the University of Zurich in June. During this event, participants learned how to contribute to Wikidata and how to import data with the help of mentors and Wikidata experts, who came from as far as Italy and the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. The event was promoted on Wikimedia CH’s webpage and social media channels and saw the participation of eight data providers.

For Wikidata’s 6th birthday in October, several local events took place, including the Wikidata Zurich Hackathon on September 8. At the Hackathon, participants interested in editing, querying, linking and coding Wikidata met up to discuss and brainstorm the value of Wikidata.



On May 5, an entire day was dedicated to bringing new technologies to students between 11 and 15 years old, giving them the opportunity to experiment with and learn about the world of technology in a fun way.

The different activities covered a wide range of technological topics, such as the programming language “Scratch”, programming with Minecraft, experimenting with robotics, 3D printing programming, creating a video game, the programming language “Python” and last but not least, playing with data and databases using Wikidata.

Wikimedia CH organised a session that was dedicated to Wikidata to introduce children to databases and SPARQL, using gamification to spark interest among participants. The course was organised as a challenge in the form of a quiz with the aim of teaching how to interrogate the web’s biggest data source, how a machine thinks, how to find solutions to puzzles and ultimately how to “talk to the database” using machine language.

With a total of 120 young participants enthusiastic about new technologies, the event was a success. Wikimedia CH is looking forward to participating in future editions.



In celebration of Swiss Digital Day on October 25th, Wikimedia CH organised a hackathon around the topic of “Crowdsourcing Data Analysis” in collaboration with the Digital Society Initiative of UZH and the city and canton of Zurich.

The 12-hour hackathon took the form of a challenge, with teams working around a problem or an idea and producing a final work to present to all participants. Under the theme “Crowdsourcing Data Analysis,” the hackathon aimed to encourage participants to take action around crowdsourced data analysis. While it featured ‘lightning talks’ by two local citizen science initiatives, the Citizen Science Centre Zurich and CrowdWater, the vast majority of the day was used for hacking and coding.

The three working directions consisted of (1) coding tools that help to execute collaborative data analysis with crowds, (2) extending and preparing existing data sets, and (3) answering data questions collectively. Participants were then given eight challenges to get an idea of what they could work on in teams. Among these eight challenges, Wikimedia CH was present with a Wikidata query task.

The aim of Wikimedia CH’s participation was to encourage further use of Wikidata by showcasing its increasing popularity and how to make the best use of the data. For many of the participants, it was their first detailed introduction to Wikidata and the possibilities it offers. Employees at private companies and students alike learned how to potentially use Wikidata for their work.

The Swiss Digital Day allowed Wikimedia CH to reach a new  audience of data-enthusiasts. Another advantage was that the event was organised nationwide, raising awareness on a much larger scale through its partners and collaborations.



Since fall 2017, the University of Neuchâtel has offered a Master’s degree in historical sciences combining the disciplines of history, art history and archaeology. Introductory courses in digital humanities are planned, as well as a quick introduction to Wikipedia. Under this framework, the project Wiki NeoComensia was started by two volunteers who are also archivists. The aim of the project was to show students and GLAM personnel how to edit Wikipedia, engage them into thinking about how contributing makes sense for their studies or their professional activities and ultimately helping preserve the cultural heritage of Neuchâtel.

The first half of 2018 saw several workshops during which participants contributed on topics related to the heritage of Neuchâtel, as well as a panel discussion with a historian of cultural heritage, an archivist, an assistant director of an archaeological museum, and a PhD researcher in history. The discussion showed an interest for engaging further with Wikipedia, as it is a commonly-used tool for students.

In the second half of the year, the project continued through workshops held in the Laténium, an archaeology museum in the canton of Neuchâtel.

On November 16, GLAM personnel and people interested in the local cultural heritage gathered at the Laténium to learn how to contribute to Wikimedia Commons, as well as ask questions about rights and licences. Following an introduction to Commons, the museum’s assistant director led a photographic workshop, after which participants were free to take pictures of the museum and its extensive exhibition park.

Just a week later, the Laténium once again opened its doors to host a follow-up event, during which participants got an introduction to uploading and categorising pictures on Commons. They then had the chance to practice, ideally with pictures taken the week before or other pictures depicting the cultural heritage of Neuchâtel.

While WikiNeoComensia reaches only a small audience, it is a good example of quality over quantity, both in terms of people reached and content uploaded to Wikimedia projects. Additionally, it highlights and preserves local cultural heritage and history, which is a key aim of Wikimedia CH.






Without our community of contributors, volunteers and supporters, there would be no Wikimedia CH. Our community was born out of Wikipedia contributors and grew over time with the popularity of the encyclopaedia and related Wikimedia projects. Consequently, nurturing and empowering our community is an strategic impact direction and a key priority for Wikimedia CH. In such a heterogeneous country as Switzerland, we work hard to support the different language communities by listening and responding to their needs, as well as fostering diversity.



While Wikimedia CH is still working on a dedicated Community Strategy, we are focused on managing and nurturing Switzerland’s growing Wiki community, while encouraging diversity and gender equality among contributors and within content.

Despite working in a virtual environment, personal contacts and networking remain important, which is one of the main reasons Wikimedia CH encourages and supports in-person events all over Switzerland.

Wikimedia CH’s goal is to increase the engagement, diversity, retention and satisfaction of Wikimedia CH’s community. We aim to represent the interest of the communities in Switzerland to open doors and bring people together with the aim of disseminating free knowledge. We also work to enable the community to share knowledge and connect it to the various stakeholders of the Wikimedia universe.



Wikimedia CH stands up for diversity and equality among contributors and content. We work to ensure that all our programmes and projects benefit a maximum of people across the country, giving priority to initiatives that address diverse target audiences based on gender, ethnicity, disabilities and other underserved communities.



Gender diversity is not only an important topic for Wikimedia CH, it is a priority for the entire Wikimedia movement. With a lack of women editors, there is significant catching up to do when it comes to the representation of women in Wikipedia content and within its community.

To address this gender gap, different international and Swiss-based groups, such as ‘Art + Feminism’, ‘Love Machine’, ‘Women in Red’, ‘Who writes his_tory?’ and ‘Les sans pagEs’ organise events across Switzerland, including writing workshops, presentations and introductory Wikipedia classes.

As in past years, the collectives of Art + Feminism teamed up to publish articles regarding women artists on Wikipedia, organising a series of events in Geneva with the aim of making inequalities visible. In addition to different edit-a-thons, a guided exhibition tour and a roundtable focused on various women in history while contributing to new content on Wikipedia. Other edit-a-thons were held by the Library of Art and History and the collective Love Machine in Lausanne. Love Machine also reached over the ‘Röstigraben’ and collaborated with the collective ‘Who writes his_tory?’ to organise edit-a-thons in Basel. ‘Who writes his_tory?’ also met again at the Zurich University of Arts.



Wikimedia CH partners with Albinit, an international association for people with albinism, to improve the accessibility of Wikimedia projects for visually impaired people. A first batch of tests was carried out to evaluate the readability of information on Wikimedia projects. Overall, these tests showed that by using screen-readers or adjusting settings, information on Wikipedia and its sister projects was well accessible to visually impaired people. However, accessibility should go beyond the passive “consumption” of information and allow people with disabilities to retrieve the same information as everyone else, to gain the same benefits and to be able to actively share in the sum of all knowledge.

To this end, students with albinism are shaping parameters for a second batch of evaluations and reviewing the criteria for accessibility of information. They have suggested alternative criteria that are more relevant to them, such as the level of exhaustion/ energy invested to be able to read texts. As a result, the accessibility concept (perceive, understand, contribute) of websites has been extended to include usability (use to achieve specific goals). After final evaluation and consideration, these new criteria should be fit for use.



For the first time ever, WikiCon, the annual gathering of German-speaking members of Wikimedia, took place in Switzerland. Wikimedia CH co-organised this year’s WikiCon in St. Gallen from October 5 to 7 along with Wikimedia DE.

More than 300 Wikipedians and Wikimedians from the German-speaking chapters gathered for three days of lectures, workshops, discussions and a Free Knowledge Forum open to the public. The event— which was the 9th edition of the German-speaking WikiCon— generated significant media coverage, as well as largely positive feedback from participants.

The opening Keynote speech on Friday evening was held by Cristina Sarasua from the University of Zurich, who led many of 2018’s Wikidata workshops and hack-a-thons. The keynote covered the topic of “Wikidata and the challenges and opportunities in community- and data-management’. The speech was followed by a panel discussion about ‘how data becomes knowledge’. After the welcome session and dinner, the official programme started with a choice of six different parallel workshops that went on until 10pm. Over the following two days and until noon on Sunday, the programme was just as dense, and participants were spoilt for choice.

Among the topics discussed were how to increase the number of female contributors to Wikipedia, as well as the number of articles about women. This year, approximately 25% of the participants at WikiCon were women.

In addition to hosting the German WikiCon in Switzerland, Wikimedia CH also supported the WikiConventions from neighbouring chapters Italy and France.

The 2nd edition of the Italian WikiCon took place from November 16 to 18 in Como. Due to the proximity of this year’s location to the Swiss border, the event generated relevant impact in Switzerland.

The 3rd edition of the French WikiCon took place from October 5 to 7 in Grenoble. The event saw participation from Switzerland’s French-speaking community members, who gathered with other French-speaking Wikimedians in the museum of Grenoble to exchange about themes related to Africa, editing and community, education and learning, technical belonging as well as Wikimedia and close projects.



Through a partnership with Service Civil International, Wikimedia CH organised the first ever Wikimedia for Peace event in Switzerland. At an old, remote farm building on Mont Soleil in the Swiss Jura Mountains and in deep snow, 11 young participants from all over the world met to learn about writing Wikipedia articles. There were also lessons on how to connect media, such as images, to the WikiData database. In one week, 75 new articles were published in German, Greek, English, Vietnamese, Azerbaijan, Vietnamese, Ukrainian, Dutch, Spanish, Turkish, Italian and Serbo-Croat. These were mostly translations of existing articles, although a new Dutch article was written and eight existing articles were significantly improved.

The participants lived and cooked together during the event. While heavy snowfall made expeditions impossible most days, the participants were highly motivated and went home with a deep feeling of contribution towards the community, as well as towards themselves.



The Wiki Alpenforum (WAF) is a group of German, Austrian, Italian and Swiss Wikipedians/Wikimedians dedicated to creating content in relation to the Alps on different Wikimedia projects. With their common geographical and cultural-spatial background, they create and improve content about the alpine flora and fauna, the history of transport over the Alps, geology, mining, mountaineering, cuisine and alpine culture, to name a few.

From June 1 to 3, Wikimedia CH had the pleasure of inviting participants of Wiki Alpenforum to the first multi-day event in Bern. The varied programme focused on sociology and nature and included a tour of the parliament, writing workshops, a discussion about the strategy of the WAF on how to proceed with different languages and regions, a visit of the BKW-Museum, a guided tour of the hydroelectric power station in Mühleberg and last but not least, a visit of the Alpine Museum. A total of 15 participants from Germany, Austria and Switzerland created new articles, improved existing ones and uploaded hundreds of photos to Wikimedia Commons.



A global photo competition around cultural heritage monuments

Wikimedia Commons is among the most popular Wikimedia projects in Switzerland. Thanks to various Wiki Loves X contests, coverage of Swiss natural parks, monuments etc. is way above 90%, allowing Wikimedia CH to now strive for quality rather than quantity of pictures uploaded.

After participation in Wiki Loves Earth 2017, this year Wikimedia CH participated in Wiki Loves Monuments. The aim of the contest was to ask the general public—readers and users of Wikipedia, photographers, hobbyists, etc.—to take pictures of cultural heritage monuments and upload them to Wikimedia Commons for use on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. The focus was on cultural heritage monuments ranging from individual buildings, such as museums, to entire historic city centres.

This year’s rendition lived up to the hype of past editions: over 258,000 photos were submitted by more than 14,000 photographers, while the contest took place in more than 40 countries worldwide. In Switzerland alone, more than 2,660 images were uploaded.






In addition to the three Impact Directions, Wikimedia CH aims to further strengthen its position as a recognised resource in the digital and free knowledge sector by partnering with different stakeholders in the cultural, political and socio-economic spheres. We also aim to connect Wikimedia projects to key partners to create synergies and leverage impact.

On a wider scale, we actively seek to collaborate more closely with other Chapters within the Wikimedia Movement to share learning, knowledge and experiences.



Kiwix is the open-source software that brings internet content to people, who—for whatever reason— do not have access to the internet.

Wikimedia CH has supported Kiwix since the beginning and is happy to see it progressing and growing ever since. Since 2017 and the setup of Kiwix as an independent entity, funding of technical developments is left to the Wikimedia Foundation alone through their New Readers programme. Wikimedia CH focuses its support on capacity building (mostly fundraising), and both associations regularly exchange communications materials and opportunities. Kiwix was also integral to the release of the GLAM Statistical Tool in June.

Kiwix’ global user base—which includes individuals and organisations around the world, such as the Orange Foundation in West Africa and the Yachay Tech University in Ecuador—is estimated to be more than 3 million people across all platforms.

In 2018, the app released new versions for Android, Desktop and WikiFundi (for offline editing). Another release included the Hotspot installer, with a utilisation guide that Wikimedia CH contributed to. The Hotspot is used in classrooms in a dozen different countries to provide access to both Wikipedia and WikiFundi. Kiwix also attracted publicity through an article on the Wikimedia Foundation blog, an article in the ‘Tribune de Genève’ and a TedXTalk Annecy given by Kiwix Founder Stéphane Coillet-Matillon.



Standing up for free knowledge and building a strong, viable organisation able to do so means finding strong allies. The Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU (FKAGEU) unites the European Wikimedia chapters and communities so they can have a clear, coherent position on major legislative and political changes affecting the vision, mission and values of the Wikimedia movement.

In the first half of 2018, FKAGEU was very busy with the upcoming vote on the European Copyright Reform that poses a potential threat to free knowledge projects such as Wikipedia. Through these efforts, Wikimedia CH continuously exchanged with representatives in Brussels to learn about activities concerning the Copyright discussions at the European level.

To this end, we invited Dimitar Parvanov Dimitrov, a Wikimedian in Brussels who specialises in Public and Regulatory Policy, to Switzerland where he had the chance to bring his expertise to an Open Hearing that took place in the Swiss Parliament in Bern. With Switzerland itself in the process of a Copyright reform, this exchange is currently even more important to Wikimedia CH, as we aim to establish the association as an expert in Copyright and the future of the internet in Switzerland. An important topic raised was the “Public Domain Safeguard,” which we were able to propose to Swiss lawmakers with a view to integrate a relevant paragraph into the current text.

Efforts around Copyright will continue through 2019, as the Copyright Directive will be negotiated through the beginning of the year. Wikimedia CH and FKAGEU remain busy as we work towards an open and fair internet in Switzerland, Europe and beyond.



Wikimedia CH is a partner of Parldigi, the parliamentary group for digital sustainability. Through this partnership, we have become part of the ongoing discussions about Swiss copyright and the future of the Swiss internet, which of course heavily depends on the global and European context.

In the first half of 2018, some staff members went to the parliamentarian dinner in Bern to get to know other partners of the association and to raise awareness for Wikimedia CH. As a result, a member of the National Council and co-chairmanship of the group, as well as the management of Parldigi, took part in our first ‘Friendraising’ event at the Vögele Kultur Zentrum in June.



This year’s DINAcon conference for digital sustainability, organised by Parldigi, took place on October 19 in Bern. Katherine Maher, Wikimedia CEO, and Simon Phipps, president of the Open Source Initiative were keynote speakers at the event.

Additionally, Wikimedia CH staff members led a session about “Wikipedia and Wikidata at school: advantages and disadvantages.” The presentation introduced participants to the role of Wikimedia projects in education, highlighted specific cases from around the world and put Swiss cases in the context of Wikimedia CH’s strategy.

The conference also included workshops  and lectures about getting started with Wikipedia, presentations about data and Wikidata, a “Hacknight” for those coding beginners and experts alike, and the DINAcon awards. Overall, the conference was a great opportunity to strengthen relationships with current partners while reaching out to potential new ones.



In the aim of establishing new partnerships and potentially motivating new donors, Wikimedia CH planned and organised ‘Friendraising’ events. Partnering with well-placed institutions, we invited well-connected people and organisations to learn more about both the hosting institutions and Wikimedia CH. While networking and awareness-raising were the main goals of these events, they also gave participants an exclusive look inside important cultural institutions around Switzerland.


Vögele Kultur Zentrum

The first Friendraising event took place on June 7 at the Vögele Kultur Zentrum in Pfäffikon. The centre features multidisciplinary exhibitions on socially-relevant topics through contemporary art, media exhibits, scientific contributions and everyday culture. With roughly 20 participants, the evening started with a welcome message by a member of the National Council, followed by a short introduction to the Vögele Kultur Zentrum by Monica Vögele and an introduction to Wikimedia CH by Jenny Ebermann. Attendees then got special insights into the centre’s new exhibition on the topic of ‘self-optimisation’ before having a chance to network and connect during an aperitif.



After the first success in Pfäffikon, we organised a second event in Geneva on June 25. In collaboration with the MAMCO, Switzerland’s biggest museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art, more than 20 people gathered to attend an exclusive guided tour led by Lionel Bovier, Director of the MAMCO. The private tour included both the temporary exhibition ‘Retrospective’ devoted to Rasheed Araeen, as well as the museum’s permanent exhibitions. The evening concluded with an aperitif and networking event, where people had the chance to connect to Mr. Bovier and Jenny Ebermann, and learn more about both organisations. Like the first event, feedback received was excellent.


Olympic Studies Centre

The third and final Friendraising event in 2018 took place at the Olympic Studies Centre (OSC) on September 13. Like the other events, the Friendraising evening was born out of continuous exchange with the hosting institution, the International Olympic Committee, with the aim to begin a longer-term collaboration. At the event, participants had the chance to learn about the OSC and Wikimedia CH and were given exclusive insights into the OSC’s private archival gems. Discussions and connections made during the subsequent networking aperitif were inspiring and people were clearly intrigued about Wikimedia CH.



As we look to 2019, we see great potential to build upon both our successes and our learnings in 2018.

In particular, we will focus on nurturing new relationships forged in the past year with cultural and educational institutions, as well as organisations like the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee.

We also aim to continue our work of making both our Community and the content on Wikimedia projects more diverse, accessible and inclusive. As our mission is to bring free knowledge to everyone, we will maintain our focus on bridging the gender gap and supporting those who are currently underserved, such as the visually impaired.

In 2019, we also plan to continue our work towards influencing policy decisions around Copyright reform, both at the national and European levels. With the Copyright Directive soon being finalized, there will be significant work to do.

Last, but certainly not least, 2019 will see serious digital transformation within our association. We are currently planning the implementation of a new IT infrastructure, which will allow us to work more efficiently while also better serving our partners and community. With more streamlined processes, better use of automation and clearer workflows, we aim to create a more sustainable organisational base to make a greater impact using less resources.


Wikimedia CH would like to thank the staff, community, board, partners and donors for making these projects possible. Together, we are working towards a diverse, open and, above all, knowledgeable society in Switzerland and beyond.

Parldigi Event and Digital Sustainability

On March 20th, Parldigi, the Parliamentary Group on Digital Sustainability led by National Councillor Edith Graf-Litscher, hosted a dinner and open discussion around the topic of digitalization. More than 70 experts from the IT industry, business and politics took part in the event at the Kornhauscafé in Bern.

Among others, Prof. Dr. Fabrizio Gilardi of the Institute for Political Science of the University of Zurich and co-founder of the Digital Democracy Lab presented an analysis of the digital political presence in Switzerland. Dr. Lisa-Christina Winter, Senior User Researcher at TestingTime AG, informed about the latest developments and possibilities in the field of online micro-targeting; a particularly hot topic since the scandal surrounding the Cambridge Analytica research institute and its activities in the US election campaign.

The evening concluded with an interesting panel discussion with the two guest speakers, Nicolas Zahn from the Digitization Working Group at “Operation Libero” and Adrienne Fichter from the online magazine “Republik“, led by Dr. Matthias Stürmer from Parldigi. The large number of participants shows the growing interest in digital sustainability and open-source projects in business and politics.

Wikimedia CH has been an official partner and sponsor of Parldigi since 2018 and will continue the support and cooperation this year.

Video: Article 13 of the EU copyright explained

Here is a short video from the Wikimedia Foundation that explains the impact of article 13 of the new EU copyright law.


#Article13 will harm the internet.

Do you know about Article 13? It's a proposed EU copyright rule that forces platforms to police all uploads just to be safe. You can help stop this from becoming reality. Find out how at

Gepostet von Wikipedia am Mittwoch, 20. März 2019

Demonstrations against the new European copyright law

On March 23rd 2019, the Swiss Pirate Party and countless partners of the campaign will launch an international call for demonstrations against the new European copyright law. In Switzerland too, an event is being prepared in Zurich on Saturday at 1.30 pm. Wikimedia CH supports the campaign and invites the community to participate in this event.

In the European Parliament, negotiations on the “Directive on Copyright in the Digital Internal Market” are almost complete. This copyright will massively change the Internet as we know it. Almost 5 million citizens have therefore signed a petition against this directive and the final vote in the European Parliament will follow at the end of March.

Meanwhile, 12 March 12th 2019 the Council of States in Switzerland postponed its decision on the next revision of the Copyright Act and wishes to await the EU’s legal developments. The reason for this is a controversial addition by the preliminary advisory commission: operators of Internet platforms such as Google or Facebook must in future pay a fee to media publishers if they publish their text passages and thus earn money through advertising marketing.

Wikipedia blackout against article 13

On March 23 – 28, the European Parliament will vote on the new copyright law and the international wave of protests against the project is growing. In particular article 11 and 13 are being criticized to change the use of the Internet as we know it. The authors of the German Wikipedia will take a stand against the reform by organizing a total blackout of the German-speaking encyclopedia on March 21st.

With article 13, Internet hosting providers and content platforms will be held responsible that no copyrighted work will be republished after they have become aware of it. This effectively forces them to set up upload filters, which by their nature both will be expensive and error-prone. Publication of creative content will be severely restricted because even the smallest detail of a photo or video, for example on a poster in the background, could violate copyright law. These restrictions would seriously restrict the freedom of expression, making satire and parody videos, gameplay or reviews, as well as the publication of memes very difficult to impossible.

Article 11 would introduce a “Link tax”, where reproducing more than “single words or very short extracts” of news stories will be subject to license and fee. No exceptions will be made even for services run by individuals, small companies or non-profits, which could result in a further concentration on a few large media publishers.

To protest against these controversial points, Wikipedia authors call for political resistance against the controversial reform of the copyright law: On March 21st, the German-language edition of Wikipedia will be completely switched off.

Wikimedia CH is actively supporting the Swiss initiative “Allianz faires Urheberrecht” for a just copyright. Please take a minute to visit the website and support the campaign:

Successful first virtual General Assembly

On December 10th, Wikimedia Switzerland held its first ever online Extraordinary General Assembly and it was a successful event. After thorough technical testing prior to the assembly, Wikimedia members from all around Switzerland, the WMCH board and WMCH staff met at 18.00h in the virtual meeting room.

The event was moderated by the president of the board Bagawathram Maheswaran, Executive Director Jenny Ebermann and Cornelius Pietzner. On top the agenda where three main points that needed to be voted on: changes to the WMCH bylaws, protection of the Wikimedia funds and the WMCH budget 2019.

Bagawathram Maheswaran presented the first motion concerning the changes to the WMCH bylaws and a discussion followed. Several members asked questions to clarify certain points and each one was answered by the WMCH board or staff. After a short initial technical set up, the members proceeded to vote on the motion. All votes where successfully registered and the motion was accepted.

The second point on the agenda was the protection of the Wikimedia funds. Cornelius Pietzner presented the measures that needed to be taken to protect the WMCH assets and detailed the reasons and consequences. Again, after a short discussion and a round of questions, the motion was voted on, without any technical or operational issues, and passed by the voting members.

The third and final motion was the vote on the WMCH budget for 2019. Wikimedia CH Executive Director Jenny Ebermann presented the new budget plan in detail and explained some of the main projects the WMCH team is working on, as well as some of the new developments for next year. The budget was then voted on and passed with a large majority, indicating the trust into Wikimedia Switzerland’s direction and strategy.

The Extraordinary General Assembly was scheduled for two hours and right on time, at 20.00h, the session concluded.

The Wikimedia CH team would like to thank all the WMCH members and board members, Bagawathram Maheswaran, Cornelius Pietzner and the technical team for their participation and efforts to make the first virtual EGA a success.


Extraordinary General Assembly Wikimedia

Dear Members of Wikimedia Switzerland

Because the interests of the Association demand it, the Board of Wikimedia CH is calling an Extraordinary General Assembly for December 10th,  2018 from 18:00-20:00, due to several issues that require discussion and decisions.  

This E xtraordinary General Assembly will take place electronically and you can attend via the Internet.  We will send you the details on how to register and how to access the virtual meeting room in the following emails.

The agenda items  for the Extraordinary General Assembly  are the following: 

  • Vote on changes to the bylaws (original and suggested changes  on the dedicated site in Members Wiki) 

  • Protection of Wikimedia CH reserve assets and protection against present penalties by establishing a dedicated WMCH fund in  Fondation  des Fondateurs. 

  • Presentation and approval of the 2019 budget 


For further information and detailed documents to the agenda items, please sign into your Wikimedia Members account and consult our dedicated webpage:

General information about the General Assembly, motions and decision s can be found in our  bylaws 

Please note that only members with an active Wikimedia subscription and who have paid their yearly fee will be able to participate.

Should you require additional information regarding these items, please contact Jenny Ebermann at


With kind regards, 

 Bagawathram (Ram)  Maheswaran   


Board of Wikimedia CH 

Wikicon 2018 – Welcome to Switzerland

For the first time, WikiCon 2018 will take place in Switzerland from 5th to 7th October in St. Gallen, at the Kantonsschule am Burggraben.

Do you want to share your knowledge with others and are interested in the field of free knowledge?

Whether you are involved in Wikipedia, in one of the many sister projects, in other projects in the field of free knowledge or simply to learn more about Wikipedia – WikiCon is the right place for you in any case. It is the meeting of the active members of the German Wikipedia, their sister projects and all those interested in free knowledge. WikiCon offers time and space for workshops, conferences and round tables, but above all for exchanges and discussions.

We look forward to welcoming you and all other enthusiasts to St. Gallen!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact

Direct link to sign up: WikiCon 2018



Katherine Maher at the DINAcon in Bern

We are pleased to announce that Katherine Maher, Managing Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s DINAcon in Bern on October 19.

Katherine is a long-standing advocate of free and open societies and an expert in the use of technology for social impacts. She was appointed Executive Director in July 2016 after first serving as Chief Communications Officer of the organization. She has lived and worked on different continents and has promoted the introduction of technology and innovation in the fields of human rights, good governance and international development. She was a founding member of the UNICEF innovation team, where she contributed to the introduction of open source innovations for health and child welfare.

Besides Katherine Maher two other experienced Wikimedia speakers will participate: Catrin Vimercati will share her experiences from Wikipedia and Wikidata in schools and Diego Hättenschwiler will provide expert knowledge about the editing of Wikipedia pages.

For more information and a list of the entire program, please visit