Carnegie Mellon University
Human Rights Media Central Workshop

Human Rights Media Central Workshop

The fundamental premise of this meeting is that there is a lot of work going on in the human rights media space, but it hasn’t been coordinated in any obvious way. There remains no defined set of tools or standards that citizens, journalists, and practitioners can use to create/acquire, authenticate, archive, analyze, and utilize human rights-related media including images, video, and text in a coordinated fashion. There are numerous solutions and guidelines for particular problems, but nothing that creates an infrastructure/ecosystem for working communally to maximize the potential of user generated content (UGC). The time seems right, therefore, to harmonize these efforts and ensure that the tools and systems we all create are interoperable, adhere to generally accepted principles and standards (many of which remain to be agreed upon or are simply not well-known in the human rights community), and produce outputs that can be integrated into the workflows of the organizations and advocates who use such media in their everyday activities.

The ultimate goals of the meeting are: 1) to identify the most pressing technical needs of the human right practitioners as they increasingly make use of digital media in advocacy and accountability efforts; 2) think about what it means to take an ecosystem, or systems, approach to human rights media utilization (e.g., Human Rights Media Central); and 3) begin to develop strategies to mitigate the ethical, legal, political, security and epistemological challenges associated with the widespread use of digital media in human rights documentation.

Special thanks to the MacArthur Foundation, Humanity United, and Oak Foundation for their commitment to supporting the work of the Center for Human Rights Science and funding this workshop. Additional support for this workshop was generously provided by Benetech through a grant from

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