App for activists

Published in Politics & Social by

Social media has proven to be a powerful tool for activists. Now four students from Miami Ad School have advanced our digital democracy further with Report Without Fear. Good news for citizen journalists everywhere.

The Arab Spring demonstrated the pivotal role of social media when demonstrators used it so effectively to voice their views and steer clear of state-run media outlets. That’s why commentators now speak of a ‘digital democracy’, brought about by forms of communication — blogging, text messaging, photo sharing — now available to everybody thanks to new technologies.

But sharing sensitive pictures and information, or expressing views thought to undermine the authorities, can land you in serious trouble in many parts of the world where a free press does not exist. So four students from Miami Ad School in San Francisco came up with a simple solution. Mohamed Chamsseddine Abdelhafidh, Elton Rhee, Belen M. Marquez and Paul Forester devised a concept they called Report Without Fear. In it, they imagined Snapchat teaming up with human rights agency Amnesty International to create a platform whereby people could document anything and send it via Snapchat, to Amnesty, who then share it with relevant news media. And Snapchat’s self-destructing features ensure that those submitting the content remain anonymous.

The group of four also produced a short and powerful ad campaign to explain the idea. And their video has just won a Legend in Advertising Award from Print magazine.

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