Yesterday evening (June 14) , the WITNESS/Global Voices Human Rights Video Hub pilot took the award for best New Media project at the One World Media Awards in London. (Visit this page to see the full list of winners).
Conferred annually by the One World Broadcasting Trust, the awards “encourage excellence in media coverage that supports a greater understanding of the vital issues of international development. . . [and] recognise the unique role of journalists and film makers in bridging the divide between different societies, and communicating the breadth of social, political and cultural experiences across the globe.”
Global Voices and WITNESS were represented at the ceremony by South Asia editor Neha Viswanathan and former Video Hub editor Sameer Padania (now director of the Video Hub project at WITNESS), respectively. The Human Rights Video Hub beat out BBC's Tribe and the farming charity web site Cowforce for the award.
According to the citation, e-mailed to us this morning by Sameer, the One World jury
decided to award the Human Rights Video Hub Pilot because, although a pilot, it was felt that it enacted and focussed on the potential power of the contemporary participatory web. It has been built around some of the most compelling new media trends we are only starting to witness – the explosion of video sharing online and mobile technology. Making it easy for those without a computer to share human rights violations with global audiences in is potentially transformative. It was agreed that this site sets a benchmark that others must meet in using technology and digital media to bring to light injustices that would not usually be brought to a global public eye, and therefore had the potential to effect real change. It shows how the power of collaboration, distribution and aggregation can amplify the plight of others in an unequal society. It clearly fulfilled the One World Broadcast award judging criteria and it was felt that it provided a much needed portal, space and context, with the support of ethical and thoughtful editorial content, to put the spotlight on global cultures through different lenses.
The WITNESS/Global Voices Human Rights Video Hub pilot, which curates human rights video from around the world, was launched at the Global Voices web site in September 2006. The pilot is the first step in a larger WITNESS project designed to curate video, provide educational tools, and be a resource for activists, journalists and others interested in deterring human rights violations “through community-enabled advocacy, using visual imagery as a catalytic force”.
As Sameer Padania writes in this morning's e-mail: “I know people say this all the time, but the award really does belong to the brave, committed, talented people on the ground – bloggers, human rights advocates, journalists, lawyers, filmmakers, citizens – who fought to bring these stories to light, and without whom we genuinely would have had nothing to say or show.”