WITNESS works at the intersection of human rights, media, and technology, and was founded in 1992 by musician and activist Peter Gabriel. Our mission is to use video and new technologies to open the eyes of the world to human rights violations.
Over the past 17 years, we have done this primarily by supporting human rights organizations and activists to use video to document, expose, and end human rights abuses. But what’s the new role for an organization that started by “giving cameras to the world” to document human rights abuses, when there are hundreds of millions of cameras around the world? What place does human rights video occupy in a world of abundant personal media, ubicomp, data visualization, and real-time mobile video?
This talk will look at how WITNESS has tackled the possibilities and problems offered by the new abundance of media through its online Hub for human rights, and will ask what those working in technology, media, and human rights can do together to build an online culture of human rights that is participatory, powerful, and effective.
Sameer Padania works at the human rights organisation WITNESS, where he runs the Hub, the first website dedicated to human rights video and action. Before joining WITNESS in New York, Sameer was the lead author on Reflecting the Real World 2, a report documenting the impact of new media on British public television’s global coverage, and he also wrote and edited WITNESS’ award-winning human rights vlog at Global Voices Online. Sameer worked for six years at the media development organization Panos London, designing and managing initiatives to support and strengthen local radio and online journalism worldwide. He has worked in film distribution and production, and as a film journalist and TV documentary researcher, and is a graduate of Oxford University.
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