YouTube has introduced a new channel devoted to human rights, called simply enough, The Human Rights Channel. The channel’s mantra: Film it. Share it. Change it.

As I write, 1,036 subscribers and 98,582 views.

Says YouTube in its announcement, the channel is “dedicated to curating hours of raw citizen-video documenting human rights stories that are uploaded daily and distributing that to audiences hungry to learn and take action. The channel, which will also feature content from a slate of human rights organizations already sharing their work on YouTube, aims to shed light on and contextualize under-reported stories, to record otherwise undocumented abuses, and to amplify previously unheard voices.”

As reported in the NY Times, The Channel will be overseen by Witness, an international nonprofit that has been using video to help activists document human rights abuses for almost 20 years.

Strikes. Political protest. Religious persecution. Syrian massacres.

I think the power of this is pretty plain. From the NY Times:

“‘Nonprofits and activism’ is one of the fastest-growing categories on YouTube, according to Olivia Ma, YouTube’s news manager. At the height of the Arab Spring last year, she said, 100,000 videos were uploaded from Egypt, representing a 72 percent increase in uploads from the previous three months, even after the government shut down the Internet for five days.

In Syria, where foreign journalists have been barred from covering the violent clashes, activists have uploaded tens of thousands of videos on YouTube in the past year, allowing the world to see the horrific violence unfolding inside their country.”

Huge kudos to YouTube for this truly empowering service.


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