For most of us, the epicenter of video for change work that we’ve seen throughout 2011 has been in the Middle East and North African region (MENA). The Arab Spring has illuminated the reality of what “Cameras Everywhere” looks like, and what the power of instant video capturing and sharing can yield to inform and mobilize for truly incredible social change. All of us trying to harness the power of video to create change have a lot to learn from our MENA allies working on the front lines recording, remixing, curating and sharing human rights video.
As part of our one-year focus on MENA, WITNESS will host a convening next week with 23 of the region’s most innovative and prominent video activists from six countries in transition: Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.
Most of our work at WITNESS is supporting and training human rights activists, groups and organizations through our partnerships, in-person trainings and via our new Video Advocacy Planning Toolkit. However, this time we are returning to the region to mostly listen, learn and determine how best to share how these pioneers of the region are optimally using video – and how better to support the video for change community.
The convening will be a space for allies to train and learn collectively: to share what’s working, what’s not and to identify and prioritize actions that the video for change community, and even technology providers and media, could take to better support human rights activists using video. It is an unprecedented time for video advocacy, and we’re thrilled to be able to go a thriving region to learn, share and report-back as much as possible from the room.
But, before we go, I ask you one question: What would you ask the leading video activists in the MENA region?
Please list your questions — from safety and security issues and working with traditional media to filming tips and distribution — in the comments and we’ll incorporate them into our discussions next week.
After the convening, I will write a blog series featuring:
- Video Creation Best Practices & Needs
- Video Editing and Distribution Best Practices & Needs
- Social Media Best Practices & Needs
- Safety and Security Best Practices & Needs
- Another post that I’m confident will bubble-up while we’re there…
Please add your questions and comments below. And thanks!