“It raises challenges too: saturation of images and compassion-fatigue, finding your place to be heard, and the safety and security and consent issues that arise when many more people are filming each other.
“But overall I think we’re seeing a really powerful moment for individual expression but also collective accountability being supported via image-making.”
So says Sam Gregory programme director of Witness, a human rights organisation which uses video and online technologies to open the eyes of the world to human rights violations. The New York-anchored organisation works around the world to ’empower people to transform personal stories of abuse into powerful tools for justice, promoting public engagement and policy change’.
Sam is a video producer, trainer and human rights advocate who knows and taps into the power of moving images to move people. He was speaking with Indian journalist and cyber activist Frederick Noronha in an interview just published at the Info Activism website.Sam recalls how he was once making films and also involved in activism, and ‘frustrated at how the two didn’t fit together’.
He adds: “In the traditional TV documentary world, the advocacy purpose of film was under-utilized. The fact that you got 500,000 viewers for a TV broadcast told you nothing about whether that turned into action. So I started looking for ways to really make the video fit as a tool for real advocacy and change-making, and came upon WITNESS.”
We at TVE Asia Pacific worked closely with Sam in 2002-2004, when we implemented a collaborative Asian regional project called Truth Talking where Witness was a partner. It was through Witness that I met courageous info activists like Joey R B Lozano.