Monday, March 29, 2010

Eyewitness videos of the Moscow Metro bombing

During the height of Moscow's morning rush hour, two female suicide bombers detonated themselves in the Moscow Metro system - one of the world's busiest subway systems. The first bomb went off at 7:56 am in the Lubyanka station, and the second 46 minutes later at 8:38 in the Park Kultury station.

So far, at least 38 people have died and more than 60 are injured.

Citizens inside the Metro system when the bombs exploded captured video footage from the scene. Viewer discretion is advised as some of these images are very disturbing.

For more videos, visit, which we'll be updating with more eyewitness accounts as they come in.

Free the Hikers campaign releases video petition to Iranian Govt.; Laura Ling and Euna Lee lend a hand

In early February, we told you about a video campaign launched by the Free the Hikers campaign - aimed at releasing the three American Hikers who are currently detained by the Iranian military after mistakenly hiking over the Iranian border in northern Kurdistan. The campaign has received an outpouring of online support, and recently released this mash-up video of all the video petitions they've received on YouTube, including 2 clips from Laura Ling and Euna Lee, the two American journalists who were released from a North Korean prison last year in a high-profile rescue mission by President Clinton.

Earlier this month, the hikers were allowed to call home for the first time. However, efforts to push for their release around the Iranian new year celebration of Nowruz didn't come to fruition. Find out more about what you can do to help at

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Protesters respond via YouTube to health care bill

The excitement of last August's nationwide health care protests resurfaced this week, following President Obama's signing of the health care reform bill.

Like last year, members of the "Tea Party" movement organized events to express disapproval of the bill, though some of the latest footage is slightly less animated than that from last summer. For example, five hundred people gathered in the rain at this event in Iowa City, but the vibe is reasonably mellow (nobody tears up a sign in the middle of this video):

A more spirited protest emerges when both sides of the aisle are sharing the same sidewalk. In this video, protesters gathered outside of Dennis Kucinich's (D-OH) district office in Cleveland. The main protagonist of the video approaches the issue from the left, claiming that the health care bill does not provide "health care for all" as she says Kucinich promised it would. However, in the background of the video, you can see several others calling loudly for a more conservative framing of the bill:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Final stretches of the Healthcare debate

The GOP weekly address, giving by Rep. John Boehner, makes the final case for House Republicans. And the White House releases an animation finale to their "by the numbers" series. Now, everyone waits for the vote - likely tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

EPA launches Gmail-esque video campaign: Take the sign, pass it along.

Gearing up for Earth Day, the EPA has launched a Gmail-like video campaign on YouTube - "It's my environment". Download the sign here, then pass it along through a video response to the video below.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fox News interviews President Obama, wants your questions

Tomorrow night at 6 p.m. ET, Fox News Channel anchor Bret Baier will conduct an exclusive interview with President Barack Obama, and he wants to know what you think he should ask.

Similar to the YouTube Interview with President Obama back in February, you can submit your questions for the President via text or video on the Google Moderator platform, and vote on the questions submitted by others.  The top-voted questions will rise to the top, and Baier will select some to ask in his interview.

You can submit and vote on the Fox News website or on the Fox News YouTube channel. The interview is less than 24 hours away, so now's your chance to raise your questions and concerns.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Recognizing courage, securing online freedom

More than ever, governments around the world are threatening online free expression. Forty countries have taken measures to limit this freedom, up from only a handful a few years ago. YouTube services are or have been blocked in 25 of those nations.

On Thursday night in Paris, we took an important step to highlight this crucial issue by sponsoring the first Netizen Prize (or more elegantly, “
Le Prix du "net-citoyen") awarded by the Paris-based advocacy group Reporters Without Borders. And on Friday, March 12, we’ll be helping highlight the fight for Internet freedom by marking the group’s World Day Against Cyber Censorship on YouTube.

Fittingly, Reporters Without Borders chose to give the first Netizen Prize to the Iranian creators of the website Change for Equality, first established in 2006 to fight for changes in laws in Tehran that discriminate against women. That site has since become a well-known source of information on women’s rights in Iran, documenting arrests of women activists and becoming a rallying point for opponents of the regime.

Over the past year those leaders in Tehran have distinguished themselves — and earned the opprobrium of people all over the world — for their brutal crackdown on the rights of its critics to question their rule. Last year's killing of unarmed Neda Agha-Soltan during post-election protests in Tehran, seen around the world on amateur video, has become a symbol of the regime's ferocity — and the power of the Internet to reveal what governments do not want the world to see.

At the award ceremony in our Paris office, Google's Senior Vice President David Drummond said that we are at a critical point in the future of the Internet: "All of us have a choice. We can allow repressive policies to take flight and spread across the globe, or we can work together against such challenges and uphold the fundamental human right to free expression.”

David went on to praise the role of NGOs like Reporters Without Borders, the Obama Administration’s commitment to the promotion of Internet freedom and the efforts of all groups that have joined the Global Network Initiative. Under the initiative, major U.S. Internet companies, human rights group, socially responsive investors and academic institutions agreed to guidelines promoting free expression and protecting the privacy of their users around the world. “In the spirit of the undiplomatic American come to European shores," he said, "let me make a plea for European governments, companies and groups to rise to the occasion. Any effort that is limited to the United States is bound to fall far short of its global potential.”

Cross-posted on the YouTube Blog and Google Official Blog

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Building movements with video, from Uganda to Pakistan

Online video has been a major topic of discussion at this year’s Alliance of Youth Movements. With three breakout sessions devoted to how to use video to build movements and reduce violence around the world, participants have been challenging each other to think critically about the effectiveness of their video work and how they can improve upon it.

During yesterday’s online video session, we used Invisible Children as a case study of an NGO using video well. They produce a new video about every two weeks, said Chris Sarettte who was speaking on behalf of the org, with the goal of connecting young people in Uganda with those in the United States and having youth in the U.S. raise money for Ugandan schools. This is the video that kicked off our discussion - a moving, inspiring piece that demonstrates the global movement behind the organization and calls for more youth to get involved:

One thing that is clear from Invisible Children’s YouTube channel is the specific narrative and tone as you hop from one video to the next. It’s an overwhelming feeling of hope, which is quite interesting seeing as that it would be so easy to convey sadness when discussing a war-torn region (for another example of this tone, see the video called “Michael Jackson in Uganda”).

But as one participant astutely pointed out, Invisible Children likely has a far larger creative budget (and staff - according to Chris, they hire 60 interns a semester!) than many of the other young people at the conference. One such person is Samar, a Pakistani filmmaker who is trying to create dialogue between different ethnic groups about the need for the participation of women in society. Today, she talked about this video, called “Where the Waters Meet,” which features a two singers from two different regions voicing a traditional folk song amidst powerful images:

Samar says that the video portrays the melding of two different cultures (”where the waters meet”) as well as the importance of providing opportunity for women in society. According to her, the video has gotten a huge amount of traction in Afghanistan.

You can see more of Samar’s work on the EthnoMedia Pakistan YouTube channel.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Your interview with Prime Minister Stephen Harper / Votre entrevue avec le premier ministre Stephen Harper

From its beginning, YouTube has been a place where citizens come to have political conversations, and Canada has been no exception. From interviews with Cabinet Ministers to campaign discussions to in-depth news reports, Canadians have used the site to engage with their elected officials in ways previously not possible. Prime Minister Stephen Harper himself has shared videos on his Prime Minister channel, including his CTV interview at the Olympics, his performance with Yo-Yo Ma, and several Parliamentary speeches.

Now you can speak directly with Canadian Prime Minister Harper in an exclusive YouTube interview. Tomorrow, March 11, we'll be streaming the Prime Minister’s response to the Speech from the Throne at approximately 10:45 a.m. EST. It’s a major policy speech for the Prime Minister about his vision for the future of Canada. You can watch it at, and submit your follow-up questions for him in video or text - and vote on your favourites.

Prime Minister Harper will then answer a selection of your top-voted questions in a YouTube interview this Tuesday, March 16 at 7pm EST. If you're wondering how it will work, take a look at our recent interview with U.S. President Barack Obama.

Take this chance to submit and vote for questions you want to be answered - in English or French. We prefer video questions (short and precise) if possible. This is your chance to ask the Prime Minister about the Speech from the Throne or the recent federal Jobs and Growth budget. We look forward to your questions.

Posted by Patrick Pichette, Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Google

Les citoyens, dont les Canadiens, ont fréquenté YouTube dès ses tout premiers débuts afin d’y parler politique. Il suffit de penser aux entrevues avec des ministres, aux campagnes de toutes sortes et aux reportages fouillés. Le premier ministre Stephen Harper a lui-même publié des vidéos sur le canal du premier ministre, notamment son entrevue avec CTV aux Jeux olympiques, sa performance avec Yo-Yo Ma et plusieurs discours parlementaires.

Vous pourrez vous adresser directement au premier ministre dans le cadre d'une entrevue exclusive sur YouTube. Demain, le 11 mars vers 10h45 (HNE), nous diffuserons en continu la réponse du premier ministre au discours du Trône. Vous pourrez le regarder sur et poser des questions en format vidéo ou texte ainsi que voter pour vos questions préférées.

Ensuite, dans une entrevue YouTube le mardi 16 mars à 19 h (HNE), le premier ministre répondra à des questions sélectionnées parmi celles ayant accumulé le plus de votes. Pour vous faire une idée du processus, allez jeter un coup d’œil à notre entrevue récente avec le président américain Barack Obama.

Profitez de cette formidable occasion pour poser vos questions et voter pour celles qui, selon vous, devraient être sélectionnées, et en anglais et en français. On préfère que vos questions soient soumises en format vidéo, courtes et précises, si possible. Ne ratez surtout pas cette chance de demander des précisions au premier ministre au sujet du discours du Trône ou du budget de 2010. On a hâte de recevoir vos questions.

Posté par Patrick Pichette, Vice-président senior et chef de la direction financière, Google

​B’Tselem: Documenting Gaza through the eyes of of those who live there

Citizentube is at the third annual Alliance of Youth Movements Summit, a convening of youth activists from all over the world who are using new media and technology to achieve advance social justice missions, in London this week.

Yesterday, I met Yoav Gross, the Israeli Video Director of B’Tselem, a human rights organization documenting the plight of Gaza/West Bank civilians through video. The organization has distributed 150 cameras to Palestinian civilians with the hope of seeing the conflict through their eyes. It’s a view, Gross says, many global citizens never see.

In this video, for example, a handcuffed Palestinian man is shot with a rubber-coated bullet by a soldier:

The video was shot by a Palestinian youth through the window of her home, and given to B’Tselem, who turned it over to the Military Police Investigation Unit. An investigation was opened into the matter. This is another goal of distributing cameras - so that they can provide proof to police about the incidents taking place in these areas.

In this video, one of the most-viewed on the B’Tselem YouTube channel, a settler from a Jewish settlement in Hebron is seen harassing women from neighboring home. In the video you can see the metal cage that the family built around their home to prevent attack:

Western mainstream media has picked up on some of B’Tselem’s footage (see this NBC Nightly News piece about the organization) but much of it - like this video uploaded in January, which documents teens working under poor conditions in the Rafah Tunnels, a main passageway for food, medicine and weapons into Gaza due to border restrictions - have received less widespread attention.

For more footage from B’Tselem, please see

The Internet in America: A YouTube Interview with the FCC

[Cross-posted to the YouTube Blog]

If you're reading this, then you're probably on the Internet -- via your laptop, your mobile phone or other handheld device, or maybe even through your television. But in 2010, millions of Americans still do not have access to the wealth of information made available on the Web. Even though the Internet was invented in the U.S. over 20 years ago, many Americans lag behind in both access to the Internet and speed of connections, which is why the Federal Communications Commission (or the FCC, the federal agency that oversees the U.S. communications industry) is launching its much-anticipated National Broadband Plan next Tuesday, to lay out its strategy for connecting all Americans to fast, affordable high-speed Internet.

After this plan is announced, you have the opportunity to interview FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, in the second of a series of in-person YouTube interviews with government leaders. (Our first, with United States President Barack Obama, took place last month.) Go toCitizenTube today to submit your video or text question via Google Moderator, and vote on your favorites; we'll bring a selection of the top-voted questions to Chairman Genachowski in our interview next Tuesday, March 16. The deadline for submission is Sunday night March 14 at 11:59 p.m. PT.

To help structure our conversation with the Chairman, we've broken the interview down into seven topics. To learn more about what the FCC is doing in each area, click on the links next to each topic below. Then submit your question on CitizenTube under one of the topic headings.
Access to the Internet has transformed almost every aspect of our economy and society. This is your chance to press the FCC on how the National Broadband Plan will work, and ask your questions about improving the Internet in America. We're looking forward to seeing your questions and hearing what the Chairman has to say.

Steve Grove, Head of News and Politics, recently watched "The Internet in 1969".

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Project: Report Round 2 Begins, Semi-Finalists Announced

All of the entries for Round 1 of Project: Report are in, and a panel of judges from the Pulitzer Center have chosen the top 10 semi-finalists. We saw terrific submissions from around the country, each telling a powerful story of an individual through a day in his or her life. Now you can vote for which Round 1 submission you think should win the Community Award.

Below is a list (in no particular order) of the 10 Round 1 winners who will proceed to the second and final round of Project:Report. The grand prize? One of five $10,000 travel fellowships to work with the Pulitzer Center on an international reporting project.

Each of these 10 semi-finalists also received a Sony VAIO notebook with the new 2010 Intel Core i7 processor and a Sony HD video camera, which they will use these to produce their videos for Round 2.

But don't worry, even if you're not one of the 10 semi-finalists there's still an opportunity to win a prize. At the end of Round 2, the Pulitzer Center will look at all of the videos submissions that came in for Round 2 and select one additional contestant to receive a Sony VAIO notebook.

If you're game, here's the assignment for Round 2:
Report on a compelling topic or subject of any nature which you believe has not been sufficiently and/or accurately covered by the national media. All entries must be less than five minutes long and shot in High Definition.

Submissions are due by 12 p.m. ET on April 4, 2010.

Congratulations to the 10 semi-finalists, and good luck to everyone in Round 2!

Olivia Ma, YouTube News & Politics, recently watched "Jersualem: War in My Land"

Monday, March 8, 2010

Videos document the Iraqi voting experience from start to finish

More interesting videos are coming into YouTube from yesterday's elections in Iraq:

This footage shows people turning up at their local polling place to vote:

This video documents a man getting searched by security before heading into the polls:

Here, a man puts his ballot into the box and then dips his finger into the purple ink to show that he voted:

Big cast of young government employees launch EPA video contest

Mobilizing a big cast of government employees to get the word out, the Environmental Protection Agency has launched another YouTube video contest - intended to highlight the issue of environmental justice. Called "Faces of the Grassroots", the contest has categories for both PSAs and short documentaries, and aims to put a human face on ways in which environmental policy and politics intersect with justice and human rights issues.

This isn't the first time the EPA, one of the U.S. government's most active agencies on YouTube, has launched a video contest - last December, the ran a recycling-themed video contest called "Our planet, Our stuff, Our choice," and back in March of 2009, just after the U.S. government launched on YouTube, they held a contest asking for videos to educate people about water quality issues. With each contest, the EPA has offered cash prizes for the best content.

Find out more about their environmental justice video contest at the landing page, and check out their call-out video below.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Iraqis voting around the world

We're also seeing videos uploaded by Iraqi citizens in 16 countries around the world who voted in today's elections. Here's a playlist:

Iraqi Voices: Citizen Perspectives From Inside the Country on Election Day

Determined Iraqis flocked to the polls today to vote in the first nationwide parliamentary election since 2005. Despite pockets of violence, Iraqi citizens from 18 different provinces inside Iraq, as well as 16 other countries around the world, cast their ballots to determine who will fill the Prime Minister's office and the 325 seats in the nation's parliament.

These elections mark an important milestone for Iraq, a country damaged by war, slowly re-building itself as a democracy. We partnered with Al-Jazeera English to collect videos from Iraqi citizens before, during, and after Election Day. Each of these videos features the perspective of a regular Iraqi, whose viewpoints and experiences are rarely shared in the news reports coming out of the country. Through video, we can listen to their voices, see their faces, and gain a better understanding of what it was like inside Iraq on this important day. The footage is still coming in as the votes are counted, but you can go to Al-Jazeera's YouTube Channel to see the playlist of videos uploaded to YouTube so far. We're also showcasing videos on CitizenTube's YouTube channel.

One Iraqi got to the polls at 5 a.m. only to be find that his name was not on the list:

This voter shares who she voted for why she believes that secular candidates will win:

And this woman explains why she will not vote in this year's election:

If you're from Iraq or have thoughts about the Iraq elections you'd like to share, upload your videos to the Al-Jazeera website ( using YouTube Direct and your video might be shown on television.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Polls are open in Iraq on Election Day

The polls are now open in Iraq, and we're already starting to see videos being uploaded to YouTube from citizens, news organizations, and even the United States Army, that paint a picture of the situation on the ground.

Here's footage of an Iraqi talking about his experiences at the polls on Election Day:

CBS News reports on the women candidates running in today's election:

And this video published by the American Forces Network Iraq shows how U.S. and Iraqi soldiers prepared for Election Day:

Stay tuned on CitizenTube for more updates from Iraq as the election proceeds.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Join Jeremy Piven’s “Video Volunteers” Entourage for Global Development

Jeremy Piven is best known as the sharp-tongued Ari Gold on HBO’s Entourage, but today he’s taking a break from berating Vince and the boys to give the YouTube community a glimpse of his softer side by signing on as a Video Volunteers curator.

This month, YouTube, Piven and the ONE Campaign are asking you to make videos supporting a nonprofit working on an issue related to global development, such as extreme poverty, access to clean water and sanitation, and preventing disease. With International Women’s Day on March 8 and World Water Day on March 22, it’s an ideal time to tackle some of the problems crippling citizens in developing nations. Piven agrees:

Once you’ve created a video for a nonprofit of your choice dealing with global development, submit it to the gadget at Remember: the video has to be about an organization, not just an issue. Piven and the ONE Campaign will pick their top three videos to go on the YouTube homepage at the end of the month.
Happy filming!

Cross-posted on the YouTube Blog

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Students use YouTube to plan and document education protests in California

Today, thousands of California students and teachers are protesting proposed cuts to public education across the state - and they're uploading proof to YouTube.

California has seen its fair share of education-related protests in the past few months - upon hearing about tuition hikes across the University of California system, students took to the streets in anger. College students are still a large part today's movement (see this video from UC San Diego), but now, they're not the only piece of it.

Here's a footage from a protest at a middle school in Millbrae, California, uploaded recently to YouTube:

And students are also using YouTube as an organizing tool - this video uploaded yesterday features a cast of student voices and asks fellow students at Monterey Trail High School to join them in today's activities.

The video above is an interesting throwback to the immigration protests of 2006, when high school students used social media like YouTube to stage massive school walkouts.

Jerusalem: A War in My Land

Last summer, Arturo Perez Jr., a filmmaker from San Francisco, California, traveled to Jersualem with a mission -- to come back with a story. Art won last year's Project: Report, YouTube's first journalism contest done in partnership with the Pulitzer Center, for his short documentary, "Abilities," which explores Camphill California, a community of adults with disabilities who work and live together. As the grand prize winner, he won a $10,000 travel grant to work with the Pulitzer Center on an international reporting project and chose to go to Jerusalem. He wrote a guest blog for CitizenTube about his journey there and what his project is all about. Be sure to watch his final video, which is embedded below.


Jerusalem is a complicated place.

Trying to sum up the story of this city or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in one 10-minute film, or even in this blog post, would be disingenuous and wrong. So let me just say -- right off the bat -- that this film isn’t trying to do that.

The aim of this piece is to give context to a side of the story that doesn’t get the attention of the international media. With all the despair, distrust and anger around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, few journalists or news outlets see the benefit of highlighting peace organizations. Many people living in the area see the “peace effort” in Jerusalem as nothing more than that -- “effort” -- an effort that will never evolve into anything more.

I first arrived in Jerusalem in the summer of 2009 with only my HD camera, two mics, a still camera, a reservation at a hotel, and a contact at IEA (The Interfaith Encounter Association). I had no crew (and never got one), and I had little idea of what kind of film this would turn out to be.

Ten days later, I left more hopeful than when I arrived. Everywhere I went, everyone I talked to; the taxi drivers, the people selling flat bread, the businessmen, the students, they all wanted peace. More than that, they were all desperate for it.

This is the story of two of them.

Hope you enjoy it.

- Arturo Perez Jr.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A beautiful reminder to wear your seat belt

The Sussex Safer Roads organization produced this powerful PSA about the importance of wearing your seat belt. The video has racked up almost 2.2 million views in just over a month.

Definitely worth the watch.

Farouk May Have Lost the Texas Primary...But He's Still on Fire

The AP may have called the Texas Democratic primary in favor of former Houston Mayor Bill White but supporters of his opponent Farouk Shami can still head to the Westin Galleria tonight for what promises to be a pretty raging election night party, if this video is any indication:

Uploaded to Farouk's official campaign channel, this "Farouk is on Fire" video has quickly joined Carly Fiorina's demon sheep video on the list of most-talked-about campaign spots of the 2010 cycle (despite having one only graphic laid over an audio track). We can't wait to see what comes next.

Vote to select students to participate in reality series on finishing college

Paying your way through college is hard, not to mention finishing. It's a lot harder than most people imagine it to be, and now five students will show us what it's really like. 200 "nontraditional" college students -- people who are financially independent and have not followed a direct path to or through college -- applied to be part of the "Take America to College" documentary project, which will explore the lives of five nontraditional students as they navigate their way through the college experience.

Each contestant submitted his/her personal story, and 78 of them shared an audition video, which they uploaded via YouTube Direct on the Take America to College website.

Here's a mash-up of all of the audition videos:

A panel of producers will select four of the five team members, and the last member will be chosen by you - so go to and vote for which of the ten finalists you think should win that final spot.

Each member of the team will be given $500 dollars, a free trip to Washington D.C., and a video camera to document their lives and experiences as a nontraditional student. They'll meet with policymakers on their trip to the nation's capital to share their stories and help legislators understand the plight of paying your own way through higher education.

You have less than 24 hours to vote for who should be named the fifth team member, so visit now to participate.

Jerry Brown Jumps Into California Governor's Race with YouTube Video

Though rumors have been swirling for months about California Attorney Jerry Brown entering the race for California governor (not to mention the fact that the campaign has had the "JerryBrown2010" YouTube channel up and running for about a year), he officially hopped in the race today, with this YouTube video:

Monday, March 1, 2010

YouTube, Drew Barrymore, select 2010 "HungerBytes" winners

For the second year in a row, the United Nations World Food Program asked activists on YouTube to make videos raising awareness about world hunger in their "Hungerbytes" competition. And once again, a lot of very creative entries came in. CitizenTube served as a judge again this year (along with Drew Barrymore, actress and WFP Ambassador Against Hunger, Lance Vollard from Warner Bros. Pictures, and Nancy Roman from the WFP); you can see all the finalists here.

One clip used a food fight to show how we take our meals for granted in the U.S.; another showed that in the time it takes to cook a microwavable meal (60 seconds), 10 children die of hunger; and this clip used a variety of voices and original music to walk us through our daily food consumption and how it compares to those who are starving each day.

But it was filmmakers Carlos Antonio and Michel Sandoval of Mexico who took home the top prize, for their film "Dreams", which demonstrates different perspectives on hunger depending on where in the world you're from. One person's diet is another person's dinner:

Antonio and Sandoval will now travel to Guatemala with WFP, to raise awareness for hunger in that country. In the Under-18 category, 14-year old John Beck from Rome, Italy won some new film gear from the UN for his “Dinner is Served” video, in which a white-gloved waiter dishes up a meal comprised of a compact emergency food ration. The juxtaposition of gourmet restaurant service and an emergency food ration is striking:

You can learn more about the United Nations World Food Program, and how you can help, on their YouTube channel.