Are human rights videos making a difference?

September 3, 2014

Yvette Alberdingk Thijm, the Executive Director of WITNESS, posted an important piece in the Huffington Post of 2 September on how to make sure that the increase in human rights videos uploaded to Witness (and the same for other NGOs) make a real difference. After citing several examples of such footage of violence, conflict, and human rights abuses, she reflects as follows: “When I watch these videos with such potential to transform human rights advocacy, I am concerned about the gaps and the lost opportunities: the videos that cannot be authenticated; the stories that will be denied or thrown out of court — or worse, will never reach their intended audience; a survivor’s account lost in a visual sea of citizen media. Mostly, I worry about the safety of the person who filmed, about her privacy and security.

…….

“When WITNESS was created, we talked about the power of video to “open the eyes of the world to human rights violations.” Today, our collective eyes have been opened to many of the conflicts and abuses that are going on around us. This creates, for all of us, a responsibility to engage. I am deeply convinced that citizen documentation has the power to transform human rights advocacy, change behaviors, and increase accountability. But let’s make sure that all of us filming have the right tools and capabilities, and that we apply and share the lessons we are learning from citizen witnesses around the world, so that more people filming truly equals more rights.”

How Do We Ensure That More People Using Video Equals More Rights? | Yvette Alberdingk Thijm.

2 Responses to “Are human rights videos making a difference?”

  1. chris Says:

    Hi Hans, I read the article but don’t see any answer to the question of how we can ensure films make a difference. Chris Collier

    • Hans Thoolen Says:

      Indeed Chris, it is a rather thin on solutions. These are difficult issues anyway and Witness does more in terms of receiving & collecting than in promoting & disseminating. The latter would require selection, labour-intensive editing and rigorous quality control. There is still a lot of work to be done, best Hans


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