Read WITNESS’ Statement.

This post is also available in Arabic.

A communications blackout plunged millions of Gazans, including civilians, journalists, paramedic teams and aid agencies, in an information vacuum from October 27 to midday October 29 when connectivity was partially restored. Today, we stand in a moment fraught with the gravest of risks for further human rights violations and tragedy. As we confront this unprecedented crisis, the call for immediate, community-driven, collective action takes on an urgency like never before. The imperative to rally for human rights, transparency, and accountability cannot be overstated as we grapple with this critical juncture. 

The systematic targeting of civilian lives and infrastructure, including power and communication networks, has inflicted a devastating toll on Gaza. This, coupled with the suppression of witness accounts in both Gaza and the West Bank as a result of content takedowns and biased content moderation is leading to a significant and alarming blind spot in the availability of reliable information and human rights documentation from these locations. There hasn’t been a more urgent time for civil society to come together to counter the spiraling effects of mis/disinformation, and strengthen our collective ability to document, debunk, archive, preserve online content, and build preparedness to deal with the war-induced vicarious trauma on our respective communities.  

In an attempt to make a contribution in this direction, we started a coordinated effort across our three organizations – SMEX, Meedan and WITNESS – to develop an open-access suite of resources that could be useful for individuals and groups involved in archiving, OSINT, fact-checking and documentation efforts as part of the ongoing Gaza war. 

Published under a ‘No Rights Reserved’ CC0 license, these resources cover a wide range of topics including, for example, 

  • Tips for Filming Human Rights Abuses in Palestine
  • Tips for Fact-Checkers: Open-Source Investigation 
  • Why do We Preserve Online Content During the War
  • Collecting and Archiving Videos During the War: A Guide
  • Dealing with Shocking and Violent Images During War and Catastrophes
  • Tips for Safe Online Communication and Phone Battery Efficiency During the War, Among Many Others. 

The resources are currently available in Arabic and English. Some have also been translated into Portuguese, Spanish and Hindi. This work is ongoing, and we will be working on more topics and adding further localisations over the next few days.  

We invite you all to join this collective action through using, remixing and sharing these resources as helpful. If you would like to join our coalition, and/or contribute to content creation and localisations please get in touch.  Please do also share with us any skills/issues gaps you believe are most important to ground future resources over the coming weeks. 


Download the resources here:

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