Section outline

  • Introduction

    Access to and dissemination of information is key for civil society to hold governments, the private sector, and other actors accountable for their actions and to enable public participation for all. However, in many countries media censorship and government control effectively limit groups from using regular media channels to present their messages.

    Civil society actors are thus increasingly drawing on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and social media to mobilise citizen action and to bring live coverage of human rights abuses, court cases, and demonstrations. The use of mobile and video technology has the potential of reaching out to some of the remotest areas, linking social actors and activists in rural areas to national and even international fora and decision makers. 

    DanChurchAid has invited some of our partners using ICT technologies to share and discuss their experiences of using ICT as an innovative tool for human rights advocacy.


    At the debate meeting the participants will discuss some of the following issues:


    • How is the use of ICT facilitating links from the local to global?  How effective has it been in this regard?
    • What type of ICT do the organizations use, and what are the constraints of using ICT in a local setting?
    • What challenges have been encountered in terms of verification of information, security of information, protection of human rights defenders, ethical considerations etc. and how they being addressed?
    • What legal and policy barriers are organizations using ICT facing? Is space for civil society shrinking in this regard as well? What techniques are being used to protect this “new” space?
    • What negative human rights impacts can the use of ICT have on victims and defenders, and how are these dealt with?

    • Speakers

      Maria Grabowski is a social anthropologist, communicator, campaigner interested in new media and technology, civic participation and human rights. Campaign consultant at World’s Best News. Maria will moderate the debate.

       

      Naly Pilorge is the director of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO). LICADHO is a human rights group that focus on monitoring and documenting violations of civic rights, as well as being an advocate for the Cambodian people. Naly has many years of experience with fighting for human rights and has authored a number of op-eds in international media outlets publicizing about the human rights situation in Cambodia.

       

      Sarit Michaeli is a spokesperson for B’Tselem and has been documenting West Bank protests for years. B’Tselem is a human rights group that are documenting human rights violations by the Israeli authorities in the Occupied Territories.

       

      Pernille Bærendtsen is a freelance journalist and has a long-term engagement in activism and communication. She is based in Copenhagen but regularly stays in East Africa and South Sudan where she cooperates with new media, civil society, development, expression and activism. Pernille has a particular interest in how NGOs communicate about and with Africa on issues that get little attention by mainstream media, and how social media tackle this.

       

      Maria Brink Schleimann is Head of Communications at the International Dalit Solidarity Network; a human rights network that works for global recognition of caste-based discrimination and supports the struggle of Dalit human rights defenders. Maria has a Masters in Media Studies from the University of Copenhagen, and wrote her thesis about social movements, activism and digital media. 

      • Using ICT as an innovative tool for human rights advocacy

        Mads Klæstrup Christensen, Head of Communication in DanChurchAid, gives an introduction to ICT and social media as tools for human rights advocacy. Afterwards, Maria Grabowski presents the programme of the debate.



        • Presentation of LICADHO's work

          Through many years DCA’s partner from Cambodia, LICADHO, has been at the forefront of the efforts to protect civil, political, and social rights, as an advocate for the Cambodian people and a monitor of the government.


          • Presentation of B’Tselem's work

            B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization, will speak about their efforts to document human rights violations by Israel on Palestinians using video and social media to spread the message.


            • Panel debate

              Moderator: Maria Grabowski, Social anthropologist, communicator, and World’s Best News campaigner interested in new media technology, civic participation and human rights.


              Panel:

              • Naly Pilorge, Director of LICADHO
              • Sarit Michaeli, B’Tselem spokesperson
              • Pernille Bærendtsen, freelance journalist with a focus on East Africa, politics, development, expression, media and culture
              • Maria Brink Schleimann, Head of Communications at the International Dalit Solidarity Network