Everyone has the right to music, both as a mechanism of expression and enjoyment. Freemuse, a Copenhagen-based international organization, established March 3rd as Music Freedom Day, in order to advocate for musicians’ right to freedom of expression; to carry out their craft without fear of oppression, imprisonment, or censorship. Between 2007, when Music Freedom Day was launched, and 2014, more than 100 partners and collaborators in 36 countries have joined the annual event.
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There are estimated to be 370 million indigenous people in the world, from 5,000 different ethnic groups, living in 90 countries. James Anaya, former Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People, has defined indigenous people as "living descendants of pre-invasion inhabitants of lands now dominated by others. They are culturally distinct groups that find themselves engulfed by other settler societies born of forces of empire and conquest." Despite the United Nations having issued a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples including land rights, the land rights of indigenous people have increasingly come under threat.
Social networking tools have revolutionized the way that social movements and human rights advocates operate. In a world where the public creates the news in real time and information is readily available in a moment’s notice, the process of communication and dissemination has been largely democratized. Individuals can magnify their voice, not only through information consumption and generation, but through active engagement and organizing. For example, activists of the 2014 Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong used a mesh networking tool, traditionally used at music festivals, to communicate.
Public gatherings or rallies have long been used as a form of protest against autocratic regimes or to draw attention to a particular issue, cause or inequity. Communication through modern technology has made it easier to mobilize people into participating in mass global protests. The main intent behind a mass protest on a global scale is to draw international attention on a particular issue. The following mass global protests provide examples highlighting this tactic to advance such diverse issues as climate change, inequality, and electoral reform.
Time Out Tel Aviv created a video, ‘Jews and Arabs Kiss,’ to protest the banning of an Israeli-Palestinian love story in Israeli high schools. Through creating dialogue, this video served the dual purpose to demonstrate ideology and protest censorship.
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Protecting survivors and witnesses of human rights violations is crucial to effective human rights work. Protection is important because when survivors and witnesses fear further persecution, they are unlikely to report their experiences, making redress and accountability much more difficult. The state is formally responsible for providing protection, but it is the state that is often the greatest source of perceived risk amongst witnesses and survivors. In this conversation, participants together with New Tactics in Human Rights and DIGNITY (Danish Institute Against Torture) discussed the various strategies to protect witnesses and survivors of human rights violations, the challenges faced and the role of civil society.
The use of video as a tool for creating social change is determined by the impact that video can have on individuals. Understanding the intended and unintended consequences, both positive and negative, of the use of video in advocacy efforts is critical to its implementation in successful social change.
In this conversation, discussion leaders and participants evaluated how impact can be created and how individuals and organizations can measure, monitor, and evaluate the impact of their video for change efforts. Conversation leaders explored the stages at which impact can occur (research, training, production, filming, and screening) and discussed how to design appropriate strategies given desired impacts.