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A new human rights channel on YouTube: From its inception, YouTube has been a platform for free expression. Activists around the world use YouTube to document causes they care about and make them known to the world. In the case of human rights, video plays a particularly important role in illuminating what occurs when governments and individuals in power abuse their positions. We’ve seen this play out on a global stage during the Arab Spring, for example: during the height of the activity, 100,000 videos were uploaded from Egypt, a 70% increase on the preceding three months. And we’ve seen it play out in specific, local cases with issues like police brutality, discrimination, elder abuse, gender-based violence, socio-economic justice, access to basic resources, and bullying.
That’s why our non-profit partner WITNESS, a global leader in the use of video for human rights, and Storyful, a social newsgathering operation, are joining forces to launch a new Human Rights channel on YouTube, dedicated to curating hours of raw citizen-video documenting human rights stories that are uploaded daily and distributing that to audiences hungry to learn and take action. The channel, which will also feature content from a slate of human rights organizations already sharing their work on YouTube, aims to shed light on and contextualize under-reported stories, to record otherwise undocumented abuses, and to amplify previously unheard voices. The project was announced today at the Internet at Liberty conference, and will live at youtube.com/humanrights. Storyful will source and verify the videos, and WITNESS will ensure the channel features a balanced breadth of issues with the context viewers need to understand the rights issue involved.
We hope this project can not only be a catalyst to awareness, but offer people new avenues for action and impact. The channel is committed to providing new citizen creators as well as viewers with the tools and information necessary so that every citizen can become a more effective human rights defender. It will also be available on Google+, where the broader human rights community can take part in discussions, share material, and find collaborators.
We welcome your feedback and thoughts on the channel, and if you want to suggest a video for inclusion, email the YouTube URL to email@example.com. Please include any and all details around the time, place, and context of the video. Also, be sure to take the time to learn how to protect yourself and your subjects if you’re the one behind the camera.
Sam Gregory, WITNESS Program Director, and Olivia Ma, YouTube news manager, recently watched “Citizen Watch May 2012.”
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