“From its inception, YouTube has been a platform for free expression.” These are the words that opened YouTube’s latest blog post announcing the launch of its Human Rights Channel, which intends to “shed light on and contextualize under-reported stories, to record otherwise undocumented abuses, and to amplify previously unheard voices.”
This move by YouTube follows the video service’s long-standing support of human rights activism, both globally and in local communities, including its pivotal role in 2010′s Arab Spring, as well as in the Occupy movements in nearly every major American city. “During the height of the [Arab Spring] activity,” the post continues, “100,000 videos were uploaded from Egypt, a 70% increase on the preceding three months.”
Occupy protesters have utilized YouTube to upload countless incidents of police brutality, including pepper spray abuses by Officer Anthony Bologna and Lt. John Pike at UC Davis. Activist hacker collective Anonymous also posts video statements to coincide with “attacks,” as seen during the Monday Mail Mayhem earlier this week.
YouTube is partnering with international non-profit WITNESS and the social news gatherers at Storyful for its new venture, both of which specialize in organizing and sourcing human rights video footage. Storyful will take care of sourcing and verifying submitted videos, while WITNESS will provide context to the videos to better educate its viewers.
“The channel is committed to providing new citizen creators as well as viewers with the tools and information necessary so that every citizen can become a more effective human rights defender.”
Anyone looking to submit videos to the Human Rights channel can e-mail their YouTube URL to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include as many thorough details to the video as possible, including date, time and context.