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The Lens is Mightier than the Sword

August 10th, 2011 | Categories: Blog

Our intern, Isaac, signed up for his first college course yesterday. Or rather, he ranked his preferences from a long list of courses and crossed his fingers. One in particular caught his eye and we began discussing it in the studio. The course focused on the effect that social media has on human rights and the new found voice of those who could not previously be heard. We thought back to the events that took place in Egypt earlier this year. Through the workings of Facebook and Twitter, disgruntled citizens organized and sparked a revolution.

This was not the first time such a thing has happened. Over the past few years, people around the world are quickly learning to fight injustice with camera phones. Suddenly, people had the power in their pocket to capture acts of violence or injustice and share them with the world in a matter of seconds. All they had to do was pull out their cell phone, record a video, and upload it to YouTube or Facebook for the world to see. The general public became their own journalists, publishing events that would otherwise go unnoticed.

It happened in Iran in 2009 as protests sparked up during election season. In Japan after the tsunami, the first videos seen by the world were from people on the ground with camera phones, before journalists could get there. The conflict in Libya was no different, and even the current riots in London are most thoroughly documented by bystanders.

Whether it be an authoritative injustice, the aftermath of unforeseeable events, or any other circumstance that could quickly go unnoticed by the world’s quickly moving attention span, those who need to be heard are realizing that the lens is often mightier than the sword.

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