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Stephen Downes

Why this organization, instead of Amnesty International?

From where I sit (admittedly at a distance) Witness appears to be a lighter, more business-friendly version of AI, something much more rooted in the United States, with ties to the entertainment and business community. Not, in other words, neutral.

Sameer Padania

Thanks for posting on this, Beth. I'm at the GFMD Conference in Athens right now, and I've asked a few people the same question, and maybe it's because it's a conference packed with journalists, but it's sparked lively debate, particularly given what is going on in other parts of Athens right now. Can't wait to see what you pick out.

And Stephen, thanks for commenting - the distinct thing about WITNESS is that we have always worked to support the use of video (and increasingly online technologies) by groups on the frontline of human rights - from RAWA in Afghanistan and Ajedi-KA in DRC, to SAF in Yemen and Burma Issues. That's the footage you see in the video Beth has linked to, and the WITNESS media archive has over 3,000 hours of such footage, not counting what is contributed via the Hub.

But we also believe in engaging a wider range of actors beyond civil society - and the support of and engagement with the communities you mention and others is important in ensuring that human rights are part of debates in every sphere, not just in civil society discourse, and that pressure and scrutiny happens in all those spaces, and not just from civil society.

The Hub, the site we launched a year ago and that I manage, at, is designed to facilitate that kind of discourse - where individual human rights defenders rub up against human rights organisations, where bloggers rub up against mainstream media, where photographers encounter video activists. We'd welcome your critical engagement there too!

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