Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Saving the World With Video

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
- Article 19 of UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Tonight, I went to a panel at The New School, entitled "Saving the World, One Video at a Time." Each of the four panelists represented human rights organizations, which focus on the use of video (chiefly in the form of documentaries) to educate and promote social change. A few details about each of the agencies follows:
  • Arts Engine - Maintains MediaRights, a database of some 7000 documentaries on the subject of human rights, available to educators, librarians, and activists. It also presents the Media that Matters film festival each June, a showcase for a dozen new short films on human rights issues.
  • Human Rights Watch International Film Festival - Human Rights Watch selects documentaries from over 500 submissions to feature in this festival each year. The festival encourages film makers of any age and point of view to submit their work.
  • Video Volunteers - a social media network, which focuses on issues pertaining to the poor in rural communities around the world. Maintains Channel 19, an online network for distributing community-produced media in India.
  • WITNESS  - Encourages people to create videos about or depicting human rights violations and to submit them via The Hub, a sort of YouTube site for human rights videos.
The panel was organized by The Center for Communication and The New School's Department of Media Studies and Film.

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