Using the Internet to counter human rights abuse

12 12 2007

I realise it’s been a few days since I’ve blogged about anything.  I’ve been really busy with other homework and coursework.

As reported by the BBC, the Internet has found a use in the fight against human rights abuse.  People have been uploading videos (recorded on mobiles or whatever) of abuses like police brutality onto the Internet to expose the human rights abusers.

With this goal in mind, international human rights organisation Witness run a website where people can upload footage of human rights violations.

Of course, there are always two sides to the coin.  Independant film maker Rebecca Sommer notes that “Human rights abusers are using the same tools to put propaganda videos on sites like YouTube.”

On the whole, though, it seems that the Internet will prove a valuable aid to human rights organisations.  Two police officers were recently jailed on the charge of torture following an incident where they beat up and sexually assaulted a bus driver.  They filmed this footage themselves and distributed it within Egypt to intimidate dissenters.  The video was put online by bloggers, and has been viewed on YouTube more than 112,000 times.  The officers were convicted of torture and have been sentenced to three years imprisonment.

The UN commemorated Human Rights Day on Monday.


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5 responses

12 12 2007
Cat

I think, as with everything, that good things and bad things will come out of it at the same time. But overall this can only be good, as it provides additional means for people to be arrested/trialed with.

12 12 2007
Will Rhodes

Did you know that in some countries, I won’t mention which one is highest, are thinking of making it illegal to video police in performance of their duty?

12 12 2007
B0bbyG

@ Cat: Yes, I get the impression that this will do a lot to help justice, which will surely cancel out any damage propaganda videos might do.

@ Will Rhodes: I didn’t know that, but I can’t say I’m surprised. Just disgusted, and rather saddened. The awful thing about that is that everyone knows full well why they’re making it illegal, but nobody can do anything about it.

12 12 2007
Will Rhodes

They can do something about it, Bobby – and that is keep doing it. The suffragettes didn’t get women the vote by saying “OK we agree”, they kept on doing what they did.🙂

13 12 2007
B0bbyG

That’s true, and I’m sorry if I sounded defeatist or pessimistic. You’re right, of course; perseverence is the key! 🙂




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