Magazine article New Internationalist

Video Took-Kit: Camcorder Joins the Activist's Arsenal

Magazine article New Internationalist

Video Took-Kit: Camcorder Joins the Activist's Arsenal

Article excerpt

You can, of course, use a camcorder to capture the moment when dad breaks wind at the dinner table -- and send in the tape to one of those hugely popular TV compilations of 'home videos'. But you can also use the camcorder to fight for social and environmental justice. It has now joined the fax machine and the word processor as an essential item in any good activist's tool - kit.

Sales of camcorders have exploded. Something like 10 per cent of households in the UK and 20 per cent in the US own one. Almost anyone can film a polluting sewer or anti - fascist rally, then play it back to friends, journalists or politicians.

The most sensational example so far has been the beating of Rodney King by police in Los Angeles, captured on video by a stranger in a nearby apartment block and then broadcast around the world.

But there are plenty of others. The Ogoni in Nigeria filmed massacres of their people. Thai students filmed a military crackdown. Film shot last September showed a campaigner dangling from a crane in downtown Sydney to denounce the fiftieth anniversary of the World Bank. Activists blocking operations in Clayoquot Sound, Canada, use camcorders to ensure arrests are 'friendly' and avoid false charges. …

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