Introducing the WITNESS Media Lab

We are pleased to announce our newest initiative: the WITNESS Media Lab. The project is dedicated to unleashing the potential of eyewitness video as a powerful tool to report, monitor, and advocate for human rights.

In collaboration with the News Lab at Google, and continuing the work of its predecessor, the Human Rights Channel on YouTube, the WITNESS Media Lab will address the challenges of finding, verifying, and contextualizing eyewitness videos for the purpose of creating lasting change.

The WITNESS Media Lab will focus on one issue for a few months at a time, using new tools, strategies and platforms for research, verification and contextualization of citizen video. We will share analysis and resources publicly online via case studies, blog articles, multimedia presentations and through in-person convenings with peers. The first project will look at several cases of eyewitness video of police violence in the United States.

“We’re incredibly encouraged by the growing capacity of people everywhere to capture video of human rights abuses in their communities. We’re also aware of the critical need for skills to harness the potential of those videos, in order to turn them into tools for justice,” said Madeleine Bair, Program Manager for the WITNESS Media Lab.

Drawing on more than two decades of supporting people to use video for human rights advocacy, the WITNESS Media Lab will leverage the organization’s in-house expertise as well as that of our extensive peer networks in the fields of advocacy, technology, and journalism. Together with them, the WITNESS Media Lab will seek to develop solutions to ensure that footage taken by average citizens can impact some of the world’s most pressing and persistent injustices.

“Videos depicting human rights abuses on YouTube can be an incredibly powerful tool to expose injustice, but context is critical to ensuring they have maximum impact,” said Steve Grove of the News Lab at Google. “We’re thrilled that WITNESS is bringing their deep expertise to this space in the WITNESS Media Lab, and we are honored to be partnering with them.”

For more details visit us at WITNESS Media Lab website and follow us @WITNESS_Lab. And YouTube published an announcement today detailing their support of the WITNESS Media Lab and a two other projects focused on the power of citizen video.

Press inquiries and requests for interviews should be directed to Matisse Bustos-Hawkes at WITNESS via our press kit or on Twitter @matissebh.

About the News Lab at Google

The News Lab at Google is the company’s effort to empower innovation at the intersection of technology and media. Our mission is to collaborate with journalists and entrepreneurs to build the future of media with Google. We do this through a global outreach effort to empower technology-driven storytelling in newsrooms; a strong data journalism practice based on our Google Trends platform; and through unique partnerships that seek to increase access to quality information globally.


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