September 3, 2009

Ethics, human rights and social activism

What are our ethical responsibilities when recording video of people under oppression?

Guest post by Sam Gregory

In June, my colleague Sameer Padania and I were part of a panel at the Open Video Conference in New York City on Human Rights, Indigenous Media and Open Video. We used the opportunity to launch what will be a continuing effort by WITNESS to engage with the human rights issues around dignity, re-victimization, consent and security raised by contemporary online video.

Above is the video we used for the WITNESS presentation at the conference.  Watch and tell us what you think — what should WITNESS (and others) be doing in this area?

My colleague Priscila Néri’s post on the footage of Neda Agha-Soltan in Iran is a thought-provoking place to start: Iran Protests: A Woman Dies on Camera — to post or not to post?

WITNESS was created over 15 years ago coming out of the Rodney King incident asking this question: What if every human rights worker had a camera in their hand? Now, nearly every citizen does have a camera — and it is participants, witnesses and perpetrators who are filming. Continue reading