If you’re like us, you checked out for the holidays. We’re back, and we’re still catching up with the stories we missed during the end of 2014. From the results of Kashmir’s election to an interview with Aleppo’s Free Syrian Army fighters, and calls for peace and security in Pakistan following the deadly school attack last month, below are some of the citizen reports from the last few weeks that we think you should check out.
In Case You Missed It (ICYMI)
From late November through mid-December, residents of Kashmir cast their ballots for political representatives. Or, they didn’t.
The disputed region is claimed by both Pakistan and India, and many residents told Video Volunteers that voting is meaningless as they lack faith in the Indian authorities that manage the region. Others said voting was a peaceful solution to the ongoing conflict. For more voices from the electorate, see this feature from India’s Video Volunteers, which trained community correspondents in Kashmir to cover the election.
It’s hard to overstate the danger involved in journeying into Aleppo to report from the frontlines of the Syrian War. ANA Press’s Rami Jarrah traveled to the city despite the risks, and spoke with Syrians who remain, fighting not just the government forces of President Bashar al-Assad, but foreign extremists.
Protesters Arrested at Anti-Terrorism Rally in Pakistan
“Stop Terrorists. Save Us.” “We Need Peace.” That’s what some of the placards stated at a December 31 rally in Peshawar, Pakistan. The crowd of peaceful demonstrators called for an investigation into the horrific attack on a military school on December 16 that killed more than 140 people, most of them children. Radio Free Europe (RFE) filmed the rally, and reported that dozens of protesters were arrested.
Azerbaijan Radio Free Europe Offices Raided
Azerbaijani authorities raided the Baku offices of RFE, held employees of the U.S. government-funded media organization in a room without phone or internet access, and then ordered them to leave the premises.
The raid came two weeks after the arrest of an Azerbaijani investigative journalist, Khadija Ismayilova, who reported for RFE and other outlets. Azerbaijan was counted among the Committee to Protect Journalists’ list of the top ten worst jailers of journalists in 2014.
Arrest of Bahrain’s Opposition Leader
Thousands of people have been arrested in Bahrain in the past three years for calling for democratic reform. In late December, Sheikh Ali Salman, a leader of the opposition movement, became the latest government critic to be thrown behind bars. His supporters have protested Salman’s arrest, as seen in this video from January 4th, capturing clashes between protesters and security forces outside Salman’s home.
The Observers’ Picks of 2014’s Best Amateur Videos
Like the Human Rights Channel, France 24’s program The Observers curates and contextualizes citizen media from around the world, with a focus on reports exposing human rights issues. Their roundup of 2014’s best amateur videos is a powerful demonstration of the potential of citizen video to expose human rights violations.
It includes the Iranian version of the “Happy” music video craze, which landed its creators in jail, as well as videos exposing torture on an Angola diamond mine, the harassment of Afghan migrants in Iran, an attack on an indigenous community in the Amazon rainforest, and many other reports curated by The Observers’ staff and reported by citizens around the world.
The Human Rights Channel’s Year in Review
Speaking of year-end roundups, if you haven’t had a chance yet to check out our 2014 Year in Review, click here now.
Our online feature includes the source footage and more information on each clip included above, as well as an interactive map of videos we curated in 2014, and more.