In comparison with other areas on the globe, the West Bank and Gaza might seem to many to be “flooded” with media. This is true in a sense, but it also misses a point. Traditional media, including local outlets, tend to go to the most expected places, and film the familiar shots over and over again. Both Israelis and Palestinians are tired of hearing the same news, and media outlets are less inclined to send crews to film an “occupation.” This leaves a great deal of space for citizen journalists, and the West Bank contains many of them.
Our model of citizen journalism is based on working with the “regular” local population, rather than with activists, and many of the videos we publish are filmed from windows, balconies and roofs rather than by someone involved in the incidents. This, I think, gives the videos a special quality, and helps the Israeli audience see the reality from the eyes, or camera lenses, of ordinary Palestinians. It is also important in terms of access, and allows us to monitor and document incidents that occur daily in Palestinian streets and fields.
Brutally beaten down, desperate, without any chance of recourse to any countries’ law, by holding up a cell phone and filming the death of a small child they are screaming at a world they think isn’t listening.
Luke Allnutt, Radio Free Europe, The Death Of Oula Jablawi And The Democratization Of Bearing Witness.
Oula Jablawi was a two-year-old girl shot dead by Syrian forces, video of which was posted to YouTube and spread across social networks.
Allnutt writes that in the past, traditional media acted as gatekeepers of images such as this and often chose not to publish explicit and graphic material that might upset its audience.
That hierarchical model no longer holds as ordinary citizens with ordinary technology commit acts of journalism and documentation to share with one another and the world.
It was very violent and brutal against peaceful people who just trying to cross the bridge… 17 people died right before my eyes. That has been motivating me to collect all the footage possible. We have three computers, Mac, Linux, PC, so we’ll be able to handle everything. Cameras, mobile phones, anything.