World: Protecting Human Rights on Citizen Video

Making a video to protect human rights might backfire and end up threatening the rights of those who appear or participate in the video. WITNESS’ The Hub shares with us how we can make a human rights video that gets the message across while minimizing the risk to those involved.

The post Protecting yourself, your subjects and your human rights videos on YouTube by Sameer Padania from WITNESS and Steve Grove from YouTube, includes the following animation which tells of the essential steps to take to protect participants before deciding to make a human rights video.

One of the important items is the issue of protecting those you feature in the video through consent:

In the past, videographers could generally control the size and scope of their audience, but nowadays it’s safe to assume that if a human rights video is online, it’s only a matter of time before the offenders see it. So it’s always good practice to get informed consent from the people you film. That means making sure they understand the possible negative consequences of appearing in your video. You can also blur or obscure faces, to mitigate the ability of authorities to reveal someone’s identity or location.This is important: authorities in Burma, for example, have used online footage of protests to identify and arrest activists.

In the post, they include examples of how to obscure someone's identity that can be high tech (using software) or low tech (using back-lighting, for example).

Other videos in the WITNESS series cover topics like Filming, Audio & Using Cellphones , Filming & Protecting Interviewees as well as how to effectively and ethically Editing and Distributing Your Film .

One aspect to keep in mind is how to make a local story of global importance, and poet and writer Kwame Dawes in this video for YouTube's Project: Report speaks about how to make people connect with the story you want to tell:

Other issues mentioned in the WITNESS post are how to distribute the film for the best effect: whether to make a worldwide impact or if it is better to keep the video local but show it to key actors that can take action regarding the human rights issue that is being shown. Also, some keys are given which would keep the videos from being flagged as inappropriate including correctly tagging videos and making descriptions which will add as much context as possible, getting consent from everyone shown in the video so they can't flag it, understanding local laws on legal issues regarding certain topics or characters shown in the video, understanding copyright so your video isn't flagged due to copyright violations, and also getting in touch with YouTube to let them know what sort of content you are publishing.

The best way to get people to see your Human Rights video is to tell others about it: email Global Voices authors who can write about your video, write to CitizenTube or WITNESS or send all of us a message on twitter: @citizentube, @witnessorg or @globalvoices.


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