Annual Report 2022/Story: Electing to take an active part
In this story, we focus on the 2022 parliamentary elections as a democratic event where Wikipedia and the Wikimedia platforms are very relevant and present. We got in touch with political parties to request portrait photos, and we also extended an offer to the Wikimedia community to document the activities around the elections that were being done with the general public.
As Wikimedia Sverige's strategy states, the chapter shall "work to ensure that information that is of broad interest is made open and easily accessible". In accordance with the strategy, ahead of the 2022 Swedish general election, we decided to highlight the Wikimedia platforms as an obvious place for documentation and descriptive information about how the electoral system in Sweden works. There are recurring Wikipedia categories that have been created in the run-up to recent years' elections, which are filled with content by the community. This was a focused effort around the parliamentary elections, Swedish politicians and political parties aiming at providing interested readers with as much information as possible. Ahead of the 2022 elections, we reached out to the community via blog posts and newsletters, informing them about the possibility of getting photo accreditation, using the pool of technology, and getting reimbursed for travel to various election events. All in all, the project resulted in 139 files.
We contacted the communication offices of the different parties and informed them how they could upload photos of their MP's that were missing in Wikipedia articles. Politicians who are prominent and have higher positions within politics and the party are usually relevant for their own articles. At this level, we became aware of a problem: the parties bring in photographers without including a requirement for free licenses in the contract. This means that the discussions revolved around who had the copyright to the photos and whether it could be transferred to the communications office.
When the photographer themselves is tasked with uploading their work to Wikimedia Commons, it's very beneficial. When you upload work that you yourself own the copyright to, it's relatively uncomplicated. As the copyright owner, you can decide how the photos can be used.
When new and inexperienced users upload other people's photos it leads, as we have seen, to several kinds of problems. On Wikimedia Commons you are faced with many options that require knowledge about licenses and copyright. Two of the parties had temp staffers who would upload other people's portrait photos. There were problems with both uploads, and some additional work and re-uploading with the right kind of rights and permissions was done to get it all right. Here we had to get involved and offer practical help one of the uploads.
Photos from the elections and portraits of politicians can be used not only on the Wikimedia platforms, but are also in demand from newspapers and journalists. The Wikipedia articles contain a lot of knowledge – such as information about and results from all the constituencies. As a result, articles such as Opinionsundersökningar inför riksdagsvalet i Sverige 2022 were among the most read in Wikipedia in Swedish in 2022.