WITNESS' Chris Michael Explains Video's Strengths and Weaknesses to the BBC

The BCC caught up with Chris Michael, WITNESS’ Head of Partnerships and Training, in Pisa, Italy during a tactical training on digital activism.

Via The BBC:

Chris Michael, from the Brooklyn-based human rights group Witness, describes the practical steps that protesters are using to stay ahead.

There are websites that allow for anonymous internet access, allowing people to organise without revealing identities. There are also means of circumventing censors’ attempts at blocking websites.

The Tor project software, an unexpected spin-off from military technology, is favoured by human rights campaigners.

Mr Michael says there are also “work arounds” to make online video and phone calls more secure from surveillance…

…In terms of posting videos of protests or repression, Witness is working with YouTube on a dedicated human rights channel.

It’s already hosting hundreds of user-generated videos from a wide number of countries, at the moment including Syria, Pakistan, Libya, Burma, Chile, Spain, Russia, China and the United States. There’s a daily update of video reports which include anything from student protests to forcible evictions.

Selecting and showcasing the most relevant videos is important to make an impact on YouTube’s global audience, Mr Michael says.

“Very few people are going to watch for hours. You might be able to get their attention for 45 seconds, that’s the world people live in,” he says.

Chris was in Pisa for the opening of the opening of the Robert F Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. The gathering included twenty activists gathered from some of the most difficult regions in the world. For more on the opening, and Chris’ thoughts, visit The BBC.


Help WITNESS amplify the voices of immigrants and marginalized communities globally, and to create human rights change


Donate Subscribe to our Newsletter