Magazine article New Internationalist

Uri Fruchtmann

Magazine article New Internationalist

Uri Fruchtmann

Article excerpt

Videre est Credere (seeing is believing) was launched in 2008. What was the inspiration?

As a filmmaker who is also passionate about political and social change I was always interested in using video cameras to monitor and prevent injustice. I first experimented with this concept over 20 years ago, when video cameras became democratized, ie inexpensive and easy to use. Six years ago I approached Oren Yakobovich, who had pioneered an award-winning camera distribution project in the occupied territories of Palestine, at the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem. We realized we had a similar vision and together we founded Videre.

In a world of 24-hour news, social media and the internet, is there still a need for your organization to act as a conduit for video exposés?

Definitely. Videre is more than a conduit for video information. We work with communities in remote and neglected areas with limited access to technology and internet. We equip, train and support local activists in these hard-to-access areas to film their reality and reveal it to the world. Our unique methodology addresses the lack of research, security training and verification that hampers citizen journalists' current efforts to expose human rights violations. We then ensure that the collected footage is distributed to the right audience at the right time - be they media, lawyers, politicians or decision-makers - to ensure maximum impact and create real change on the ground.

Are there any specific success stories you can tell us about?

We cannot reveal our countries of operation for security reasons, but I can say that we are often the primary source of visual information in the areas where we operate. We have provided over 450 stories to media outlets, ranging from the BBC to local radio channels, and briefed change agents from local NGOs to the US National Security Council. We have captured evidence of abuses ranging from targeted violence to displacement to intimidation. Our work has resulted in prosecutions of politicians for hate speech and incitement of violence; in MPs being humiliated and forced to step down, curtailing their intimidation of civilians; in improved treatment of HIV sufferers; and in practitioners of female genital mutilation renouncing the procedure. …

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