Remixing human rights: Rethinking civic expression, representation and personal security in online video

  • Sam Gregory WITNESS
  • Elizabeth Losh UC San Diego
Keywords: digital journalism, citizen journalism, remix culture, human rights

Abstract

This essay examines how remixes that combine human rights footage with popular songs complicate our understanding of the relationship between media production and civic participation. We argue that editing and compositing complicates establishing the authenticity of source material and that rapid dissemination of digital files through distributed networks may compromise the agency of victims. Furthermore, we raise questions about how so-called “conflict porn” that depicts graphic violence is received by Internet audiences. We offer a number of basic ethical principles for remixers of citizen journalism to consider in the post-Arab Spring milieu.

Author Biographies

Sam Gregory, WITNESS
Program Director, WITNESS, internationally recognized human rights advocate, trainer, and video producer who helps people use the power of the moving image and participatory technologies to create human rights change. In 2010, he was a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Resident on the future of video-based advocacy, and in 2012 he was named a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum. He teaches on human rights and participatory media as an Adjunct Lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Elizabeth Losh, UC San Diego
Director, Culture, Art, and Technology Program, Sixth College, UC San Diego and author of Virtualpolitik (MIT Press, 2009) and co-author of Understanding Rhetoric (forthcoming). She is a board member of UCIRA and a steering committee member of HASTAC.
Published
2012-07-18
How to Cite
Gregory, S., & Losh, E. (2012). Remixing human rights: Rethinking civic expression, representation and personal security in online video. First Monday, 17(8). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v17i8.4104