WITNESS Tech Digest: Transparency Reports on Government Interference

Internet companies are producing more transparency reports about governments’ demands on the companies to hand over users’ data and take down their content.

What We’re Reading: July 25 Edition

Every week we publish a list of our favorite articles on human rights, video, and advocacy. This week features the promotion of LGBT rights in India, the use of social media to uncover the mystery behind the downed Malaysia Flight MH17 and much more.

#AIDS2014 Live Twitter Recap

This week will be following our Senior Program Manager Bukeni Waruzi via our #AIDS2014 Live Twitter Recap blog post. Stay tuned for live updates.

Insights on the Use of Memes for Social Justice Campaigns

A guest post by The Civic Beat’s Ben Valentine about social change memes in global contexts.

20 Citizen Journalists We Follow Who Covered Human Rights in 2013

On Human Rights Day, we’ve compiled a global list of citizen journalists we follow who cover human rights and share video. Please share the list and add to it!

The Vine Mobile App: The Social Media Fanatic’s Favorite New Tool

Vine is a new application for mobile devices with some powerful features for citizen journalists.

Marshaling Social Media to Tell Stories of Death Row Innocence

Too many cooks spoil the broth? Not anymore, says One for Ten producer Laura Shacham. She’s hitting the social media superhighway to bring hundreds of voices to the stories of death row exonerees.

Videos Critique (Un)Democratic Election and Educate Voters in Yemen

Earlier this month, I spent some time in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a. Last year I spent four months covering the pro-democracy movement that has forced the three decade old despot, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to hand over power to his deputy and current vice president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

New Twitter Settings Activists Need To Be Aware Of

Recently, I logged into my Twitter.com account. Twitter users know, this is not a frequent occurrence because most of us use third-party applications like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck or any of the mobile apps. But it is a necessity, especially as an activist, in order to help keep the information on your account safe and secure.

Video Advocacy Example: ‘Yo Me Declaro’ Campaign for Human Rights Defenders

In the human rights world we often talk about HRDs or ‘human rights defenders’ – but this is more than just an an acronym or a piece of jargon. Human rights defenders of every type play a key role in protecting, promoting and upholding the human rights of all of us. And they’re not just the people who work in NGOs like WITNESS or our partners.

Reflecting in the moment on Egypt and ‘video for change’

From the moment WITNESS was founded our vision has been to tap into the power of the video camera in the hands of everyone who wants to expose injustice and create positive change, from human rights defenders to committed citizens.

Recommended: new book, new blog

I am reading, with great pleasure, Randall Jimerson’s newly published Archives Power: Memory, Accountability and Social Justice (2009; Society of American Archivists). The book addresses the role of archives and archivists in society, and evolving perspectives on their relevance to larger issues of social justice. SAA’s blurb: “Grounded in historical and social theory, this analysis of the power of archives and the role of archivists in society calls for renewed emphasis on remembrance, evidence, and documentation as a means of securing open government, accountability, diversity, and social justice, within an archival ethics of professional and societal responsibility.”

The book’s introduction is a reworked version of Jimerson’s excellent SAA Presidential address from 2005, called “Embracing the Power of Archives” and available on the SAA site. Like Terry Cook, Verne Harris and others, Jimerson eschews the notion of archival neutrality and urges archivists to accept and embrace the realities of power, politics and social responsibility which are inherent in the work we do. I’m only on chapter two so I will write more when I’ve finished.

There is also a new blog called the Documentalist: the human rights blog from the Center for Research Libraries Global Resources Network. The first post, from human rights project coordinator Sarah Van Deusen Phillips, is about archiving twitter tweets. Sarah is researching issues pertaining to documentation and archiving of electronic and online human rights records and media. Her blog discusses the work of the Web Ecology Project, a collaborative, unfunded research group interested in social media and social processes of the internet. It’s fascinating; I am wondering if anyone has attempted to archive within the human rights or activism realm, for example, the Iran election twitter feeds.