By Sarah Kerr and Jackie Zammuto

As protests continue, citizen media is flowing out of Ferguson, Missouri. It is important that people know their rights when filming the authorities but also take precautions to film safely, ethically and effectively. For citizen witnesses filming protests, police conduct or other activities, check out these resources to help ensure that your footage can be used in the future by the media, advocacy groups or for justice and accountability.

Please share this blog post and these resources widely. And if you have additional tips or resources, please share them in the Comments. We are actively reaching out to groups, activists, citizens and journalists on the ground in Missouri who are documenting potential human rights abuses there to share these resources.

All resources are open source and available on our Github page for re-mixing, customization and localization.

Also for citizen coverage of the events in Ferguson, check out our Ferguson playlist on The Human Rights Channel.  If you have video you would like to send to the Human Rights Channel, contact us via Twitter or send us a message on YouTube.

WITNESS Tipsheets:

Filming Protests & Police Conduct – Quick tips for safely and effectively documenting protests and police conduct.

Filming in Protests in Teams –Filming with a partner or team allows you to capture multiple angles and perspectives, leading to more compelling video and may provide better evidence for legal proceedings. This tip sheet outlines the roles and responsibilities of each team member and suggests additional equipment that could be useful in supporting these roles.

5-Part Video Series: Filming Protests – This 5-part video series is broken into small, two-minute videos, and focuses on how to best prepare to film, choose and test your equipment, get good footage, film as part of a team and conduct interviews. Now more than ever we need to ensure that the footage that we capture as activists incorporates essential information like the exact date, time and location so it may best be used by the media, as evidence, and for advocacy.

Filming with a Mobile Phone – Quick tips for effectively capturing video on a mobile phone.

Concealing Identity – Tips for determining when to protect the anonymity of an interview subject and practical guidance on how to conceal identity while filming or during the editing process.

Conducting Interviews – Ethical considerations and basic production tips for setting-up and filming interviews.

Documenting Human Rights Violations – Tips for ensuring your human rights video documentation is verifiable and provides valuable contextualizing details for lawyers, researchers and media. Includes tips on filming injuries and casualties.

Part of the WITNESS guide to filming protests and police conduct.
Part of the WITNESS guide to filming protests and police conduct.

Relevant resources from other organizations:

What to Do If You Are Stopped By Law Enforcement [Spanish version]– ACLU

Know Your Rights at a ProtestACLU

Assessing and Responding to Risks (Journalist Security Guide) – Committee to Protect Journalists

Again, we’d like to hear from you, if you’d like to suggest additional resources to add to this list, please mention them with links in the Comments below.

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