Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ordinary citizens, extraordinary videos

The images are grainy, often jerky and hard to follow (like most footage shot using hand-held cameras and cellphones), but the message is unmistakable: in the months since the disputed Iranian presidential election in June, the people of Iran have become fluent in the new language of citizen video reporting. What might have seemed an isolated moment immediately following the election, when we watched videos of Iranians marching, battling and even dying on the streets of Tehran, appears to have become an essential part of their struggle.

At YouTube, we have been watching week after week as new videos have appeared on the site within hours of every single protest or similar event reported from Iran in the past six months. Thousands of uploads have brought the fear and tension of these protests to YouTube, inviting millions of views around the world. It is as if the revolts that are taking place could not do so outside the eye of the camera.

Unlike traditional news footage from foreign correspondents (currently prohibited in Iran), these videos are the voice of the people — unfiltered, unedited and with a single, sometimes disturbing point of view. No professional film could capture the one-to-one feeling of watching an ordinary citizen's images of unrest in his or her own country.

We are constantly amazed by the videos our community uploads, whether from their own backyards or the streets of a faraway land. Armed with only a camera and a means to reach the Internet, anyone can ask another to bear witness to their lives. Given the nature of the YouTube videos from Iran, we may want to turn away from some of the images we see, but we keep watching, knowing that we are seeing through the eyes of a people who have discovered the power of information — despite the often extreme measures their government is using to try to stop them.

We will continue to provide the platform for you to see what they see, hear their voices and learn about their struggles. And we encourage you to join the global conversation. Leave a comment, upload your own response video or share a moving moment with someone else.

Olivia Ma, YouTube News & Politics, recently watched "29 Dec 09 Tehran Science & Technology university students protest against the government of Iran"


Bob Dobbs said...

I don't think that Google should be so self-congratulatory for simply not deleting these videos given its own censorship record in China.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy that youtube is accessible inside Iran, I wonder why google has banned Iranian IPs from accessing its download center and apps, e.g. google chrome.
Google is banning people of Iran, the government is armed enough to bypass all these restrictions. please remove the ban on people of Iran. they will pay it back to you later in the day of freedom. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Google blocks so much content to Iran yet they allow youtube.
Does Google really want to make its content readily available to the people of the world or just play some political game?

sayid from iran said...

youtube is'nt accessible in iran! we can access only by vpn or other programs.

Shekhar Sahu said...

Its very painful to see the conditions in Iran.
sometimes people fear from the local govt so dont upload videos, their voice.

Unknown said...

It is often seen that the Iranian government agents contact YouTube and report that the videos from Iran contain violence and as the results, YouTube delete those postings. Have in mind that the government of Iran does not want the world to see these images. It is extremely difficult for the young kids to upload thease videos and they often risk their life and freedom. I guess, youTube by deleting those videos is in fact helping the goverment of Iran. Please consider your policy.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Given the subject matter and title of this posting, I suspect that you may be interested in the book Watching YouTube: Extraordinary Videos by Ordinary People (University of Toronto Press, 2010).

Happy New Year,

Dr. Strangelove
University of Ottawa


Anonymous said...

Iran is a free country
You Zionists do not interfere in our work!
You are our enemy
Zalm matter how our government is better labeled

Ãmir said...

Just keep in mind that internet speeds inside Iran is awfully low. Although majority of people in Tehran have access to DSL internet, but in average, it's less than 96kbps for uploading stream. Add the government special limitations in riot days, and youtube having blocked by them, it takes "at least" 15 minutes to upload a 4 minutes video, and you may be hopeful that you internet wouldn't break down during the upload!
youtube is blocked in Iran, and people require some sort of VPN or proxy website to open it, which slows it down by half!

This is what we are dealing with in Iran.

Anonymous said...

Never Fly American Airlines their employees still from your luggage and American Airlines does not take responsibility for you lost and damaged items, even if it is as obivous as the nose on your face. We must stand up for these companies taking advantage of us as consumers, enough

Anonymous said...

A citizen journalism project by Italy: www.net1news.org

Anonymous said...

You're not freedom fighters, you're simply hypocrites who deleted videos from war crimes committed in Gaza by Israeli troops. I hope you don't censor this message.

Shreyas said...

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Security Camera Systems said...

Surveillance cameras can capture all kinds of interested things. Bravo to those who are fighting back using the medium.

hostgator vps said...

That's really sad. It remains a mystery why Jesus still allows that. :(

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