NYPD in the spotlight through YouTube

Initiatives like Witness have been doing it for years, but sites like YouTube resulting in a surge of new videos that expose Police excesses, corruption and brutality even in New York. 

A recent article for the NY Times (Officers Become Accidental YouTube Stars) explores the issue further and is in effect an article about citizens empowered through digital media to record what they experience and see. In the US, their right to record is constitutionally protected. But in other regimes, it’s more difficult to act as citizen journalists. Either way, new media and ICTs are bearing witness in ways that would not have been possible a few years ago, or even imagined a few decades before. 

YouTube may be 99.9% drivel, but a single video that exposes human rights abuse or violence and helps bring the perpetrators to justice is reason enough to encourage the use of mobile phones and online video to strengthen democracy and our active participation in governance.

YouTube opens Nonprofit Channels

YouTube’s announced the creation of a Non-Profit Programme that gives US registered non-profits receive “a free non-profit specific YouTube channel where they can upload footage of their work, public service announcements, calls to action and more”. The non-profit channels will feature, inter alia:

  • A premium channel on YouTube that serves as a non-profit’s hub for their uploaded videos. Through the channel, people can connect with a non-profit via messages, subscriptions, comments and more. Non- profits will also receive enhanced channel branding features and increased upload capacity.
  • In the coming months, non-profit channels will have a centralized area on YouTube, making them and their videos more easily discoverable.

I only hope YouTube extends this new service to non-profits outside of the US. Visit their new Non-Profits page here.

To glimpse at what’s possible using YouTube, visit the Groundviews Video Channel here.