Thinking Aloud: “Hidden Cameras That Film Injustice in the World’s Most Dangerous Places”

Dec. 1, 2014 by Darius 

In his TED Talk “Hidden Cameras That Film Injustice in the World’s Most Dangerous Places,” Israeli activist Oren Yakobovich discusses his organization’s work in providing oppressed people the ability to document the abuses they face.

Yakobovich is perhaps an unlikely champion for the world’s oppressed.  He was born into a right-wing Israeli family and joined the Israeli military after the First Intifada.  While serving in the West Bank, though, he saw a different side to the conflict, one that ordinary Israelis never saw because abuses perpetrated by Israeli soldiers and settlers weren’t documented.  Soon after, he began working with an Israeli human rights organization.  This organization gave hidden cameras and training in how to use them to 100 Palestinian families considered to be at greatest risk of abuse.  The subsequent footage was disseminated throughout Israel and sparked massive debates there.

Yakobovich took his experience in the West Bank worldwide.  He said that people today tend to assume that in the age of smartphones, everything is documented.  But in the worst places, even having a phone puts someone at great risk, and filming is definitely not possible.  The need for such cameras and documentation is great.  In fact, three billion people around the world consume news that is censored by those in power.

Yakobovich’s organization, Videre, has designed a custom-made camera that is small and blends into the environment.  Additionally, Videre provides training to activists, especially teaching them to verify their footage by filming road signs, watches, and other landmarks to establish time and location.

Today, thanks to Videre’s work, hundreds of activists around the world are able to document injustice and abuse.  The footage from hidden cameras is sweeping the cover of impunity from the perpetrators and, hopefully, saving lives by dissuading future abuse.

You can watch Yakobovich’s full TED Talk at http://www.ted.com/talks/oren_yakobovich_hidden_cameras_that_film_injustice_in_the_world_s_most_dangerous_places.

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