In recent years in Indonesia, young people, activists, migrants workers, and video enthusiasts have been working with video to promote and achieve change for a more democratic society. There are many examples that can be found, where citizens have used the moving image as an act of citizen empowerment to push for open government.
The best example I can probably give is the Cinema Lovers Community Purbalingga (CLC) . The CLC is a club, a place to hang out for young people in Purbalingga, which is a small city in the south of the Central Java Province. For years now, the CLC has also served as a training center, training students and youths in using video to expose social problems in their neighbourhoods and around the city.
They have also produced this extensive video about local elections in their regency. They wanted to capture what happened during the election and also did a comparison of what elected candidates promised and delivered. This film was one of the winners at the South2South Film Festival 2012, and can also be viewed on the EngageMedia site here. The CLC have also set up and established this local film festival in Purbalingga.
Another example I'd like to share is the Moviemento project, which we conducted with Inspirasi Muda (IM), an independent youth organization in East Kalimantan, to produce videos to raise awareness among young people about corruption in Balikpapan as part of their vision for a clean government in the city.
One NGO, Pusat Sumberdaya Buruh Migran, which focuses on migrant workers issues, uses minute-long videos to promote dialogues between Indonesian migrant workers and Members of Parliament. This initiative has taken place in some sessions during an open debate related to the Migrants Protection Bill.
There are various other examples online which show how video can empower citizens push for a more effective democracy in Indonesia. With legislative and presidential elections happening in April and July this year, we hope to document another set of such videos.
In early 2013 the video4change network began a research project in collaboration with MIT's Center for Civic Media and Open Documentary Lab to explore the impact of Video for Change, with a focus on the approaches prevalent in the network. Those approaches are mostly short form, advocacy videos that emphasise participatory methodologies and are focused on the Global South.
The first stage of the research produced a scoping report and series of blog posts that included interviews with network members along with specific impact case studies. The scoping report, including recommendations for this coming stage, is available here. This report will also soon be made available in Spanish and Arabic.
- Improve the quality of Video for Change work and enhance collaboration in the field by developing shared understandings of how video can create impact;
- Raise the profile of Video for Change and promote it as a change-making practice;
- Develop shared evaluation and impact assessment methodologies, resulting in a toolkit that enables video makers and campaigners to effectively measure and understand the impact of their work;
- Build the Video for Change field by improving feedback systems and knowledge knowledge sharing via an online space that allows the Video for Change community to share tactics, strategies and lessons learned.
Stage Two is made up of three key components:
- Impact research
- Community building and knowledge sharing convened through the v4c.org website, online events, discussions and presentations.
- A toolkit that will provide a flexible framework to support video4change initiatives to design for and measure impact
Whilst there are a number of projects presently looking at the impact of video, particular feature documentaries, there has been less focus on participatory and video activist approaches and content the Global South. Many impact projects also tend to emphasise quantitative over qualitative measures. Beyond the hits, clicks, likes and tweets, we are interested in how the process of production and distribution influences participants, how video can move people beyond "clicktivism" and catalyze deeper engagement with a campaign or movement, and how ethical components are built into video's creation and dissemination, ensuring it is accountable to the movements it is part of.
The research aims to focus on four regions over two years: Southeast Asia, Mexico and Central America, South Asia and the Middle East/North Africa.
We'll be blogging the research as we go and hosting a number of online conversations. If you'd like to stay in touch please join our announcement list.
If you are interested in contributing to or supporting this research initiative please contact us.
On 26 January 2014, EngageMedia conducted a Video Advocacy training session for Myanmar activists as part of Human Rights Working Group's (HRWG) Training of Trainers on ASEAN and Human Rights in Jakarta, Indonesia.
We started the day with a presentation coupled with screenings of various advocacy videos from around the Asia-Pacific region, which provided as tools for discussion on not only effective messaging and packing, but also the commonality of issues across borders.
We were glad to note that all the everyone participated actively and showed a clear grasp of the concepts of Video Advocacy and the new skills they had gained. We look forward to working with more CSOs from the region this year, with two more similar training sessions with HRWG slated for February and March already.
On 21 - 23 January 2014, SEATTI and MAVC co-organised an event with EngageMedia called, 'Technology & Open Government, A Collaborative Learning' at the Linden Suites in Ortigas in Metro Manila. This event was attended by representatives from transparency groups, media groups, technology organisations and companies and government agencies from the Philippines.
The main objective of the event was to spark collaborations among the represented groups, organisations, companies and agencies in order to strategically use technology to support open government in the Philippines, as well as to build an understanding among participants in the use of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) in engaging citizens in transparency and accountability initiatives.
This was the 2nd event of this kind organised by SEATTI. The first one was held in Jakarta, Indonesia in July 2013. It was attended by budget transparency groups and technology organisations from Indonesia and the Philippines.
The facilitation team was comprised of 3 members of the EngageMedia staff, Indu Nepal, Dhyta Caturani, and Cheekay Cinco as well as Dondon Parafin from the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP). Dondon was in the first event held in Jakarta last year. EngageMedia also assisted in facilitating that event.
For facilitation, we employed a modified Open Space methodology. The specific agenda for the event was 'crowd-sourced' among the participants on the first day. The bulk of the event was spent on interactive sessions, small group discussions and technical skill sharing sessions with time scheduled for report-back and plenary feedback.
There are a number of on-going initiatives from transparency and media groups as well as government agencies that strategically use new ICTs to aggregate, curate and present data around issues. Some examples are:
- Money Politics. Developed and maintained by the Philippine Centre for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), this website collates, repackages and makes more accessible data and information around 4 topic areas: Public Profiles, Campaign Finance, Public Funds, and Elections and Governance. PCIJ has impressively scrubbed through both analog and digital numerical data available to create a resource not just for journalists but for citizens who want to monitor the financial accountability of the Philippine government and its officials.
- Data.gov.ph was launched the week before the event. This is the main Philippine government portal for open data. Through this website developed by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), data will be made available from the different government agencies in the Philippines.
- Centre for Media Freedom and Responsibility's Interactive Map on the Killing of Filipino Journalists is a monitoring tool on violence against journalists in the country.
- OFW-SOS by the Centre for Migrant Advocacy (CMA) uses mobile and web technology to provide emergency assistance to Filipino migrant workers.
The overall feedback from the event participants was positive. For most of them, this was the first unconference event they have attended. This type of workshop methodology is fairly new in the Philippines. While there was some trepidation from some of the participants, everyone was quite excited about experiencing a new way of doing events.
Concrete ideas for further collaboration and new projects have emerged out of the event:
- A Facebook group has been created and is being maintained by the participants to continue discussion and sharing of ideas among the participants.
- Open data events, hackathons, kapihan (coffee talks)
- Policy fora to be co-organised by CMFR and DBM around issues relating to open government, freedom of information and open data
- A collaboration between CMA and the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) to use video conferencing to organise migrant Filipino workers
- The development of a concrete action plan to use social media to engage citizens was proposed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
More photos from the event available here.
“I came to Malaysia in 1989 when I was 19. I remember the hardship my family experienced and money was always short. My father was old and my mother could not find work. I had a lot of problems supporting my education, so I decided to leave my home for Malaysia.
I approached a middleman from my village who arranged for travel to Malaysia. It cost me RP 1 million for my passage to Malaysia.
On my first journey to Malaysia, we were brought to Pulau Asem, the first of our many destinations. There were about 100 people on the boat: men, women and even children. I was the first person to jump off the boat. Others were afraid to do so. We were afraid of being caught by the Indonesian Marine Police who patrol these areas.
We were told to disembark. Some were pushed into the water. Holding our belongings on our heads, we waded towards the beach. Once we reached the beach, we were asked to run towards a small stall. We were then kept hidden in a safe house nearby.
When I first started working in Malaysia, I was afraid of being apprehended by the authorities. I usually gave bribes to policemen when I was held, on the advice of my friends.
Once my friend and I were apprehended while trying to cross the Malaysian–Thailand border. I was told by a friend that we would be able to get traveling papers if I crossed over to Thailand. At the border check-point, Malaysian immigration officers became suspicious and arrested me. The officer took pity on me and advised me to plead guilty to the charge of overstaying in Malaysia. As a result, I was sent to a detention centre for almost three months. I become very ill at the detention centre and decided to return home in 2003.
I have been cheated many times in my effort to obtain work permits. I was cheated by both Indonesian and Malaysian agents. In 2004, I managed to get a valid permit when I joined a property developer who had started a housing project in Shah Alam.
The videos I made were based on Indonesian migrant workers living in Kampung Pandan. I come across many people who are mistreated by their employers. This includes both documented and undocumented workers. Many of my community members were cheated by agents during the 6P Programme.
The authorities are not interested to know why the migrants are undocumented. They just want to punish them. No one wants to be an undocumented worker, but due to poor laws and enforcement, it gives agents a lot of opportunities to deceive desperate migrant workers. One agent even challenged a worker she had cheated by saying: “If you dare, go report to the police!”
Watch all the videos from the Crossroads project here.
With support from Internews Europe, these guides range from mobile video to hosting independent video sites.
- Guide to Independent Video Hosting. Are you looking for ways to set up your own video-sharing and aggregating site (å la EngageMedia.org!)? Then you should read this manual. The guide focuses on Free, Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) solutions such as Wordpress, Drupal and Plumi. This was written by Mick Fuzz from video4change member, FlossManuals.
- Effective Video on Low Cost Devices. If you're a video activist or citizen journalist on a tight budget ad can't quite afford to buy the latest video equipment and smartphone, then you will find this guide useful. It offers tips and tricks to making quality videos on your existing devices. This guide was written by Brian Conley from video4change member, Small World News.
- Citizen Journalist Guide to Mobile Video. This one has everything you need to know to use your smartphone for video activism and citizen journalism. The topics covered in this guide include the principles of mobile video as well as available applications to distribute video through your mobile device. This was written by Melissa Ulbright.
- Citizen Journalist Guide to Live Streaming Video. Are you citizen journalist, planning to go cover a demonstration in your town? Or are you at the right place at the right time, and are witnessing events unfold that should be shared with the rest of the online world? Before that happens, it would be great if you can read this guide. This takes the user through different tools and strategies in live-streaming video. Written by video4change member, Becky Hurwitz from the MIT Centre for Civic Media, this guide also has hands-on exercises to installing and using the most popular video streaming services available.
All of these guides are available in Arabic and Burmese.
For more information and to provide feedback on these guides, please visit the video4change Network website.
Over 200 migrant workers and refugees from Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, and Bangladesh attended the film screening and cultural event, which was held to commemorate International Migrants Day.
The day started with a welcoming address by Dhyta Chaturani from EngageMedia and Dr. Irene Fernandez, Executive Director of Tenaganita.
This was followed by screenings of the videos from the Crossroads toolkit, lively song and dance performances by the various nationalities, and discussions on the use of the videos and video as a tool in rights advocacy for migrant workers and refugees.
Attendees felt that the videos spoke to them deeply, as they reflected their realities and struggles living and working in Malaysia, and the stories were told in the voices of the migrant workers and refugees themselves.
Some were surprised that participants of the program were able to produce the videos that they did, and were keen in knowing how they could attain such skills themselves.
The event closed with everyone present making palm prints and writing messages on a large canvas as a symbol of unity and hope. Then, in the annual tradition of Tenaganita, the floor was opened and people danced to their heart's content.
Both our organisations look forward to further on/offline distribution of the toolkit, and following up on the advocacy plans that were previously laid out for the various videos.
The WTO 9th Ministerial Conference was held in Nusa Dua, Bali, on December 3 - 6, 2013. While thousands of journalists came from around the world to report on the meeting, independent journalists were not able to get media pass to cover the event inside the venue. As always, news that got picked up by the mainstream media were only about the meeting and the insights of WTO actors, while stories from common people on the ground got left out unheard.
Therefore, we thought that it was very important to try to present different narrations from those of WTO and mainstream media by documenting and covering stories from the ground and project what common people and activists say about WTO, as well as bringing up the impacts of WTO to the surface. Working hand in hand with Bali-based Lopulalan Institute (LITE) we invited 16 video journalists/video makers and activists from Bali, Papua, Makassar, Riau, Pontianak, Samarinda, Jakarta, Bandung, Cilacap and Surabaya to participate in the WTOunplugged event that took place at Kopi Kultur, Bali.
The event was started off with a full day workshop, discussing about what is WTO, the impacts of it and the global movement against WTO, journalism ethics and how videos can be a tool to tell our message. In the morning, Edwin Bustillos from Alliance of Progressive Labor (Philippines) came to talk about WTO and the people movement around the world. Mr. Bustillos was in Bali with Gerak Lawan, a coalition of civil society groups and NGOs that mobilised people from all over the world especially Asia in an anti-WTO movement in Bali. Besides Mr. Bustillos, we had Anton Muhajir to discuss about journalism ethics and its practices in Indonesia, and Indu Nepal, EM Managing Director, gave the participants rich insights about journalism ethics practices in the international context.
In the evening of the first day, Mohammed Ikhwan from Indonesia Peasant Union, came to talk about WTO and agriculture; Komang Adiartha from Mitra Bali talked about Fair Trade vs. Free Trade; and Suriadi Dharmoko from Walhi talked about WTO and its impacts on the environment. The three resource persons focused more on the local context, i.e. Bali.
The 2nd day onward was when the real work started. After a morning briefing and discuss their story ideas, all participants went out to make videos in pairs. The idea was to pair one person with great video skills and another with great understanding of the issues. Everyday from day 2 to day 5, participants were out and about Bali to shoot, interview people and at the same time find fresh ideas for their next videos. Entering late afternoon, everyone came back to the venue and edited their videos before they were published on EM site in the evening. Time was our enemy during this process, but our spirit and strong will helped us to work our best within the limited time frame. Within 4 days, 8 teams produced 28 videos with stories range from agriculture, poverty, water, consumerism, anti-WTO movement, women, local economy, and etc.
At the end of the day, we hope that our works could be used by groups or individuals working on the issues and eventually could have larger impacts on social and environmental justice. And one thing that makes us all happy and proud of what we were doing is that we were contributing something to the social movement with something that we are good at: making videos.
Check out the videos here and please help spread the message.
The Internet Governance Forum (IGF), which has been held annually since 2006, is a big milestone for organisations and individuals working on technical and academic issues surrounding internet governance. In spite of the sanitized theme of “Building Bridges, Enhancing Multi-stakeholder Cooperation for Growth and Sustainable Development”, the forum held in Bali from 22-25 October this year was charged by fears, concerns and outrage following the NSA revelations by Edward Snowden, and fueled further by the declaration of a Miss Internet Bali.
In the midst of discussing human rights in relation to internet governance, including women's rights in the internet, the Indonesian Internet Service Provider's Association fueled protests from women's and human rights groups. Its Miss Internet Bali event, that was reminiscent of beauty pageants that treated women as passive objects was been seen as reducing women's contribution to the development and use of the internet into a simple marketing ploy.
A protest letter was signed and presented to the IGF organisers by various human rights organizations including the Association for Progressive Communication (APC) of which EngageMedia is a member, the National Human Rights Commission of Indonesia (KomnasHAM) and the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPPA).
As EngageMedia is an organisation focused on video advocacy on social justice and environmental rights, I attended workshops that discussed topics covering threats and opportunities for human rights online, freedom of expression and security on the Internet. Most of the discussants talked about the decline in safety and security on the Internet, specifically regarding the increasing number of Internet activists, bloggers and journalists who are receiving threats, being detained and imprisoned, and in some extreme cases, being killed because of their reports.
Recent research by Freedom House revealed that freedom on the Internet has been on the decline for a couple of years. The research categorized the 76 countries surveyed as 'Free”, “Partly Free” and “Not Free”. Almost all Southeast Asian countries fell into the category of “Partly Free”, except for the Philippines which was categorized as “Free”, and Burma that is “Not Free”. The survey measured control over Internet activities including blocking and filtering, surveillance, paid pro-government commentators manipulating online discussions, new laws and arrests for political, religious or social speech online.
An interesting workshop I attended at IGF was one was chaired by youth talking about online anonymity. Young people, aged between 15 to 17 presented a survey on "Online Anonymity and the Freedom of Expression". The survey that was designed by and for youth stated that one in three people communicated online without revealing their identity in the last year. The most popular reason for being anonymous online was to protect personal information, which 65 percent of respondents selected. The second most popular reason across all ages was “to feel safer”. Most of those surveyed also said that they are more likely to say what they want online if they are anonymous.
Hendriati Trianita is EngageMedia's Program and Operations Manager. Photographs courtesy of IGF 2013.
Inspirasi Muda Kaltim, one of youth organizations from East Kalimantan who worked with us in our Moviemento video workshop, is helping with the roadshow screenings for the Anti Corruption Film Festival 2013 (ACFFEST).
Anti-Corruption Film Festival (ACFFest) is aiming to raise public awareness about anti-corruption, build campaigns, improve the practice of anti-corruption, and encourage communities to participate in the fight against corruption through the medium of film.
Please check http://acffest.org/ for further information. The festival happens from 9 – 12 Desember 2013 and conducted simultaneously in Jakarta, Padang Panjang, Malang, Balikpapan, and Palu. You are also encouraged to submit your videos to the festival.