Social Media and Human Rights

Social media has opened a pathway to democracy. While I am gathering a group for a party over Facebook, other people more oppressed than I am are gathering for revolution and recording atrocities on their smartphones. Amnesty International’s 2011 report: The State of the World’s Human Rights opens with an introduction about this phenomenon and how it has changed and could continue to change the global balance of power:

“Social networking sites…are a powerful tool that can facilitate camaraderie and support between disaffected critics living under similarly abusive governments around the world.”

[Re: Wikileaks being called a national security threat]
“Amnesty International and other human rights organizations pointed out that even as the implicated governments cried national security, they were failing to meet their responsibility to investigate and prosecute those responsible for war crimes and other crimes under international law.”

[Re: the women who have filed complaints against Julian Assange]
“Hackers published the names and identities of the women who had been vilified in the media as stooges of the US and Swedish governments. This demonstrates that in the new virtual universe women continue to be treated as pawns – or even worse – as acceptable collateral damage.”

“Technology will serve the purposes of those who control it – whether their goal is the promotion of rights or the undermining of rights. We must be mindful that in a world of asymmetric power, the ability of governments and other institutional actors to abuse and exploit technology will always be superior to the grass-roots activists, the beleaguered human rights advocate, the intrepid whistleblower and the the individual whose sense of justice demands that they be able to seek information or describe and document an injustice through these technologies.”

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Comments
One Response to “Social Media and Human Rights”
  1. Michael Miller says:

    Great post!

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