We’re proud to announce that the Human Rights Channel on YouTube is a nominee for a Webby Award! It was chosen as one of the ‘best of the web’ among video channels for public service and activism. The Channel amplifies the voices of citizen witnesses who document human rights issues worldwide. In under a year, it has curated citizen videos from 88 countries (almost half the countries in the world!) and highlighted 83 under-reported stories with in-depth video playlists.

A vote for the Human Rights Channel is a vote for these brave people turning their cameras on human rights issues, and whether the Channel wins is up to you. So please vote today.

We’re not the only exciting project in the competition, though. Video advocates would be interested in several other categories, including activism short videos, and mobile video.

Online Film & Video: General Film Categories: Public Service & Activism

My Pick for 1st Place: A Woman’s Nightmare

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A Woman’s Nightmare deftly draws in viewers through emotion and suspense. Through the well-paced plot arc, we watch an innocuous request turn into a sneering exchange, and then into a full-blown assault. As the woman flees and runs out of options, we connect viscerally to her fear and her struggle.

The video goes beyond tense emotion—it conveys an important understanding of an human rights reality. Viewers should leave a successful advocacy video with a deeper understanding, both of the issue and of the people who experience it. Through a simple scenario, the filmmakers take ‘sexual assault’ from an abstract concept to a very clear reality. Viewers understand that victims are blameless, and that perpetrators look like normal men, not Hollywood villains. They understand that sexual assault could happen to any woman on any street corner, unless someone does something.

Which brings us to the last component: action. This is where A Woman’s Nightmare shines. At the peak of the action, the video breaks and requires the viewer to engage. If they sign or share a petition, the video continues with a happier ending. If they do not act, the consequences are grim. The video gives viewers an outlet for the emotion it has built—and it worked.  The petition garnered 18,000 signatures on Facebook and Twitter in a week, and on day 10, the government announced that the shelter would remain open.

My Runner Up: Bear 71. This video project creatively merges video and web interaction in a way that we hope to see much more of.

Mobile Apps: All Devices: Best Use of Mobile Video

My Pick for 1st Place: YouTube Capture

From Bahrain to Wall Street, citizen witnesses overwhelmingly use YouTube to share their videos of human rights abuses—and for good reason. YouTube’s user-friendly interface, massive audience and tools like a built-in face-blurring app make it a powerful human rights tool. With YouTube Capture, sharing just got easier.  YouTube Capture:

  • photoDecreases the number of steps to get video live on YouTube—which can be very important in an on-the-go activism situation.
  • Enables titling directly in the application. Adequate information—including date, place, and a brief description—are critical factors when YouTube is evaluating whether a violent video has meaningful content, or whether it’s a violation of YouTube’s community guidelines and will be taken down.
  • Has built-in privacy settings. Citizen witnesses can choose whether or not to share their video publicly before they upload.
  • Link to Twitter, Facebook and Google+, individually or together.

The app doesn’t yet have face-blurring built in, but we hope it will be included in future versions.

My Runner Up: LEGO Super Heroes Movie Maker. Not what you were expecting? This is the kind of creative, instructive, user-friendly app that the video advocacy world needs more of.

We are honored to have been chosen as a nominee for this year’s Webby Awards, and hope that you will vote for us in the coming days.

Kim Howell is the Online Communications Coordinator at WITNESS. She manages the blog and supports outreach to media and online communities. Follow her at @Kimplicate.

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