Posts Tagged ‘Witness (human rights group)’

Have a smartphone – become a human rights defender!

August 10, 2017

Witness’ Asia-Pacific team adapted this video from WITNESS’ tip sheet on Filming Hate – a primer for using video to document human rights abuses. “Filming Hate” guides activists through documenting abuses safely, providing context, verifying footage, and sharing that footage responsibly. It may help millions of bystanders become witnesses, and hence human rights defenders, spurred to combat hatred by wielding a powerful weapon: their smartphone. Published on 6 August 2017. Full tipsheet available on our Library at: https://library.witness.org/product/f…     Music credit: ‘India’ — http://www.bensound.com Creative Commons Attribution licence (reuse allowed)

Human Rights Day 2015: human rights defenders are main topic

December 10, 2015

International Human Rights Day is an occasion for many organizations to publish statements on human rights. For those who have not enough time to go through all of them, here a selection of four main statements that focus on human rights defenders:  Read the rest of this entry »

How to deal with digital video: key features

October 16, 2014

What every human rights defender should know about video, images etc.

Instruction video published on 15 October 2014 by Witness. What is a video format? A codec? What do 1080 and 720 refer to? What about “i” and “p”? In this video, archivist and writer of WITNESS’ award winning guide, Yvonne Ng, provides an overview of the key technical characteristics of video for everyday users with visual examples. Comment on Witness blog: http://wp.me/p4j1y7-5J2

http://archiveweb.witness.org

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.

Using Video for Documentation and Evidence: on-line course by New Tactics from 21 July

July 7, 2014

Citizen media

(Photo credit: WITNESS, used under Creative Commons)

Kelly Matheson of WITNESS and the New Tactics community organise an online conversation on the Using Video for Documentation and Evidence from 21 to 25 July, 2014. User-generated content can be instrumental in drawing attention to human rights abuses. But many filmers and activists want their videos to do more. They have the underlying expectation that footage exposing abuse can help bring about justice. Unfortunately, the quality of citizen video and other content rarely passes the higher bar needed to function as evidence in a court of law. This online discussion is an opportunity for practitioners of law, technology and human rights to share their experiences, challenges, tools and ideas to help increase the chances that the footage citizens and activists often risk their lives to capture can do more than expose injustice – it can also serve as evidence in the criminal and civil justice processes.

Using Video for Documentation and Evidence | New Tactics in Human Rights.

Archiving video should not be a dirty word for Human Rights Defenders

January 22, 2014

This blog has often referred to the growing role of images in the protection of human rights. The Activists Guide to Archiving Video produced by the NGO Witness is one tool that can greatly help those who want to be part of this development. The term “archive” may turn off many human rights defenders as something boring or at least not deserving priority but to neglect it would be a big error. As the Witness guide explains very clearly:

  • Do you want your videos to be available in the future?
  • Do you want your videos to serve as evidence of crimes or human rights abuses?
  • Do you want your videos to raise awareness and educate future generations?

The risks of not archiving are big:

  1. Your videos may exist somewhere, but no one can find them.
  2. Someone may find your videos, but cannot understand what they are about.
  3. Your videos cannot be sufficiently authenticated or corroborated as evidence.
  4. Your videos’ quality may become so degraded that no one can use them.
  5. Your videos may be in a format that eventually no one can play.
  6. Your videos may be accidentally or deliberately deleted and lost forever.

In further sections the Guide help to understand how videos can be made accessible (shared) and brings clarity to tricky issues such as the different formats and copyright.

Worth a visit!!

Activists Guide to Archiving Video | archiveguide.witness.org.

Witness 2013 overview in video

January 10, 2014

In relation to the other post of today about Witness’ new application, I want to draw your attention to the video posted on 23 December giving excerpts from the human rights channel covering police brutality, torture, chemical weapons attacks, etc. Through the lenses of bystanders, witnesses, and sometimes even perpetrators, you see the darkest episodes of humanity, all with the ease of a click, and the speed of an upload. They come from  Daveyton, South Africa in late February, watching with other shocked bystanders as officers handcuffed Mido Macia to their van and drove away, dragging the taxi driver down the gravel road behind them; from Haiti were you can listen to Haitian earthquake survivors, who testified that officials, landowners, and thugs were attempting to force them out of tent camps and into the streets. And in the pre-dawn hours of mid-August, in a suburban Damascus hospital, witnessing in horror victims as young as babies suffering from what would later be confirmed to be a chemical weapons attack. [In 2013, the Human Rights Channel curated nearly 2300 videos from 100 countries, but as the importance of citizen video becomes clear, so too do the challenges it involves, including the need for verification and the potential of misuse.]

Witness makes available beta version of the InformaCam App

January 10, 2014

The reliability of images captured and transmitted by HRDs is crucial to keep the value of their hard-won evidence high . The InformaCam application proposed by Witness uses the built-in sensors in modern smartphones as well as wi-fi, bluetooth, and cell-tower information to create a snapshot of the environment in which an image or video was captured. This validates the date, time and location of capture. Digital signatures and encryption ensure that the images haven’t been tampered with and can only be opened by the intended recipient.

I have always tried to keep you up to date on technological developments that can benefit human rights defenders. On 5 September 2013 I listed several new ideas (Natalia bracelet;  Panic Button; Silent Circle; Security in a Box)  and added the question who among the hard-pressed human rights defenders on the ground have the time and energy to sort through all this and pick what is most meaningful for them?.

 InformaCam – Secure & Verified Mobile Media.

Ford Foundation Grants $6 Million to Seven Organizations to Reshape the Global Human Rights Movement

September 24, 2013

On 18 September the Ford Foundation announced $6.25 million in grants to seven leading human rights organizations that will strengthen and diversify the global human rights movement. The 7 grants focus on human rights organizations that operate in numerous countries and international forums, underscoring the foundation’s long commitment to supporting collaboration. Combined with a five-year, $50 million initiative announced last year to support human rights organizations based outside Europe and the United States, Ford is spurring innovative thinking about the way the global human rights system functions and its capacity to address 21st century issues such as economic and social inequality.

The human rights movement has arguably been the most effective and wide-reaching social movement of our time,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. “But the movement faces a notably different set of challenges today than it did even 15 years ago, along with a new set of opportunities for advancing human rights in today’s world. The grants we make today will enable these institutions to more actively adapt, diversify and retool the way the movement works for all of us.

The seven grants announced today will support: Read the rest of this entry »

Nordic Creative Commons Film Festival: Witness on-line discussion 5 September

September 5, 2013

Google Plus Hangout On Air Live at Nordic Film Festival

Priscila Neri, WITNESS Senior Program Manager, discusses digital media, freedom of speech and advocacy at the Nordic Creative Commons Film Festival Thursday 5 September at 10:40am ET. She will present two short videos – you can watch them anytime online: People Before Profit and How to Film Protests: A WITNESS Guide to Video for Change) and discuss the use of Creative Commons and why it’s an important resource for activists. You can watch the live discussion on Google Hangout On Air and send Priscila your questions on Twitter using #WITNESSlive or @witnessorg.