Brett Soloman is Executive Director of an organization called Access (www.accessnow.org), which emerged after the disputed presidential elections in Iran in June 2009. Access and its members all around the world have played a critical role in collecting, curating and amplifying much of the video footage coming out of Iran over the past six months - despite the Iranian government's attempts to censor it. In the new information economy, in which over 20 hours of video content is uploaded to YouTube every minute, curation serves an increasingly important function, especially in the world of news and current events.
Ready Set Revolution
Regardless of how much the Iranian regime attempts to destroy the opposition on the streets, they can’t stop the flood of videos pouring out of Iran. We are working 24/7 to keep the floodgates open – and at this stage, it’s relentless.
Images of street protests, injured protesters and secret police swapping sides are on TVs, mobile phones and computer screens across the globe. This week’s images are a testament not only to the resilience of the Green movement (Iran’s democracy movement), but to the real power of video to propagate dissent at home.
It allows us in Iran and outside to see whether the protest movement is alive, where it is active and how the regime is responding. Our commitment to justice is recorded as plainly as their brutality.
Our organization, accessnow.org, works to safeguard protest videos seen below through from censorship and other forms of internet traffic engineering by the Iranian authorities. Here are a few that have been posted by one of our team Onlymehdi on his youtube channel. It was the 4th most viewed channel in the world after the protests on Sunday:
Right now our team is staying up in shifts to source and aggregate content. We receive videos from various trusted contacts in Iran – from activists, fired journalists, people on the streets. For some it is a risk to get online and send such files. Emails accompanying the videos tell of the urgency to have these images broadcast. We verify them, check their location, their dates of recording, and if there are any security risks with posting.
Releasing an important video to the world is like being a human rights defender and broadcaster all in one. Watch this video with caution:
Exclusive videos we have received and posted have headed up world bulletins on CNN, BBC and the New York Times. These videos are helping to change world policy. Obama’s condemnation of "the violent and unjust suppression of innocent Iranian citizens" has been cemented by the undeniable images. Finally the world’s governments are starting to pile in.
Because of the nature of these videos, and because of censorship and other forms of internet traffic engineering conducted by Iranian government, this process is extremely sensitive.
The battle is on the streets, but in a self perpetuating cycle, the videos not only report what took place but form the foundation for each next round in the fight for justice.