Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ready Set Revolution

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.

CitizenTube invited Brett to write a guest post about how his organization operates and what it takes for videos to travel from mobile phones in the streets of Tehran to individual computer screens around the world.

- CitizenTube


Ready Set Revolution
By Brett Soloman

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:

Other videos we find, tagged Iran or Green Movement, which are vital for the world to see, but are hidden amongst videos of Britney Spears and Kanye West. This process is laborious but important. For example, releasing this video below, showing the brutality of the regime in callously running over an innocent citizen, would have happened without record or response without youtube:

Our job is also to propagate. The videos are uploaded to social media sites including Facebook and key Iranian sites like balatarin.com and Rahesabz.net. Most of the people watching our posted videos come from inside Iran – they are a lifeline to a community where all traditional sources of independent news are shut down. We also convert video to 3GP format as well. This allows videos to be watched on mobile phones and shared via blue tooth inside Iran.

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.

Brett Soloman
Executive Director


Anonymous said...

the iranian regime reminds me of african despots, whom must remain in power at all cost.

Anonymous said...

Tank you for supporting iranien people. God bless you all.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing these videos and supporting the protesters in Iran. It is phenomenal that youtube can be used in such a world-changing way.

Ben Wikler said...

Awesome work!

Dandy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Everyone agrees that YouTube and Twitter are the two inseparable wings of Iranian Green Movement. Without these two, everyone in the world must have relied on Iran's false news agencies.

However, as I heard from my Iranian friends in the ground, the government uses uploaded videos on YouTube to recognize people and in some cases arrest them.
I wish that YouTube could use the FACE BLURRING ENGINE that is being used by Google Street View to prevent the cruel government to track people.

May God help protesters to fight for their basic rights against these barbarians! At the end, my special thanks to Google and its YouTube which spreads the news.

H-K said...

I agree with the last comment about bluring the faces and everything.
.........and thanks to Google and You Tube for spreading the news.
(even though I can't load You Tube myself)!!

Anonymous said...

You need to highlight the huge role of mobile phones empowering the Iranian people. The vast majority of these videos are from mobile phones.

Anonymous said...

thanks and many thanks...let the world know...

Anonymous said...

Where is humman right? Where is jastic ? How many people should die in street or jail? How much more blood shed?

Anonymous said...

Obama scares the hell out of me ever since I read and watched the videos of an online game’s history section that asks a simple question of ‘Is it real or is it just a game’? You will be surprised. http://www.usofearth.com/2011-obamas-coup-fails.php

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