The WITNESS Beta Hub: The new media platform for human rights advocacy
November 8th, 2007

With thanks to Sacha Costanza-Chock.

Founded in 1992 by the musician Peter Gabriel, the WITNESS international human rights organization already has a pretty long and active history. In an interview given to The Daily two years ago, Gillian Caldwell, a lawyer, a filmmaker, and the executive director of WITNESS, talks about the main ideas and goals that animate the organization. All is comprised in the catchphrase “See it. Film it. Change it.” That means to help human rights organizations use media in their advocacy work and gain media savvy-ness for their campaigns by providing them with video cameras, technical and tactical guidance. That is more true and important when it comes to “Organizations that are really the front-lines against the kind of oppression and abuse that we see happening around the world.” The collected footage can be used as means for change in many ways: grass-roots education and mobilization, evidentiary submission for a court or tribunal, and as a screening before a key decision-maker with the power to make a difference.

The present days make us witness a technology revolution in the media. There are expert predictions of close to 3 billion cell phone subscribers by the end of 2007, which is an astounding proliferation rate observed to happen across socio-economic, geographic and cultural boundaries. Besides, it is estimated a number of 15 million mobile TV users by 2009. There’s also the growing, wide-spread accessibility of media-enabled devices – videophones, digital cameras, and laptops. All of this helped WITNESS revolutionize the way of organizing their advocacy actions and the way people involved or wanting to get involved interact with one another.

The product of this major shift is the WITNESS Beta Hub. People interested in advocating for human rights can join the hub and participate in some various ways:

1. View Media.
2. Join the Hub Community.
3. Upload or embed your human rights related videos, images and audio files.
4. Create a group page for your group or organization.
5. Watch and share the 1 minute video about the Hub.

The whole message is kind and clear: Don’t ignore what happens around you in matters that violate the human rights. You can help a lot just by filming and sharing what you see. Join a peaceful, but determined crusade in favor of all the victims, past, present and potential ones in the future. The victim can be a stranger, a neighbor, a family member, or it can be you. Don’t let it go silently. Contribute to changing the world into a safer environment, where human dignity and development needs are respected and met. Become a proactive WITNESS member.

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