Wikipedia is often the first source of information on a given topic, including issues that are not widely covered in conventional or public media. This platform has a reputation as a reliable source, however, it is important to regularly check, correct, and create new entries there. With this in mind, as part of the XV edition of the Academy of Human Rights / 2020 Warsaw Fellowship, we decided to expand Wikipedia’s content with topics related to human rights, as well as good activist practices originating in Poland, and important historical events of selected minority movements. After the series of lectures by Wojciech Pędzich from Wikipedia Poland, the Fellows created new Wikipedia entries in English and edited the existing ones.
– LGBT free zones – added information about the intervention of the European Commission
– Hate speech regulations in Poland – added information on the arrest of Jacek Międlar by the police for inciting hatred against Jews and denying the Holocaust
– The article about people with disabilities – was enriched with information about the Polish strike of people with disabilities in 2018
– The article about the Manifa – was enriched with information about the protests from 2017 and 2018
– The article about Ryki town – added information about Jewish children saved by Polish families
What did this experience mean for young leaders and human rights activists?
“For me, Wikipedia is a tool that protects people, organizations and events from being forgotten or ‘distorted’. I felt a sense of agency by being involved in documenting important aspects of history.” Nitzan Menagem
“By creating articles that were not on English version of Wikipedia before, I think someone might now have a starting point to learn more about these extremely important topics.” John Lyons
“It was important to us that the entries were written in English. We wanted to show that even small actions of resistance, which often remain unnoticed, are important in revealing systemic problems in a given country.“ Nathalie Kornet
We are glad that our Wikipedia initiative was very well received by Polish activists. It even caught the attention of people from the third sector outside of Poland, who had the opportunity to learn about the protests of people with disabilities for the first time.
The HIA Poland Fellowship is supported by the EVZ Foundation and U.S. Embassy Warsaw. It holds the honorary patronage of the Polish Commissioner for Human Rights. Media patronages: ngo.pl, Halo.Radio, Magazyn Kontakt, Organizacje społeczne. To działa.