Founded in 1992 by musician Peter Gabriel, Witness supplies video cameras and communication gear to allow people around the world to document abuses of human rights, partnering with human rights groups in over 50 countries. Witness attempts to create pressure for change by shining a light on injustice around the world. The people who take up cameras in the name of human dignity are remarkably brave, facing in many cases torture and death for the "crime" of revealing the truth. But the Witness cameras stand alone; their only connection to the rest of the world is via the hand delivery of video tape.
That will soon change.
In an interview at BusinessWeek online, Gabriel and Witness Executive Director Gillian Caldwell reveal that the organization intends to open up an online portal allowing people to send in video clips from digital cameras and cameraphones -- that is, if they can get the funding.
Are people already sending tapes or images from mobile phones?
Gabriel: We haven't had the structure to do that. That's the next challenge.
Caldwell: Implementation will be in the next 12 months. That's what we're shooting for, although we need financial support.
How will you keep control of the content?
Gabriel: We hope there will be some sort of self-regulating system. People, in order to get content uploaded, would have to rate three or four other pieces of material [on the site]. My country [England] is the most observed country in the world. I think the average person gets filmed eight times a day. The aim here is to turn the cameras back.
An interesting project....