This is an interesting time to be launching an online TV channel, especially if you’re in the business of human rights. Authorities are toppling, media empires are crumbling and information is leaking out into the world for ordinary people to see. The Internet lies at the heart of this change – it’s pulled the rug from under the old structures of power and we’re only just discovering what it can really do.
There’s a joke in the first episode of Amnesty TV about a sneezing panda – at 108 million views, its one of the most popular Youtube videos of all time. Now, there’s nothing wrong with watching clips of fluffy animals, but the revolutions in the Middle East, kick started on Youtube and Facebook, prove there’s a lot more we can do online.
It’s taken a while for the penny to drop because we, as ordinary people, have never really been shown how to make our own content, and we’ve never had a means of sharing it. Newspapers, TV, Radio – it’s all been run by a small number of people and our only option was to like it or lump it. Not any more.
If you’re reading this blog, you’re most likely living in a country that allows Internet freedom. You don’t need to ask permission to consume or produce content. You don’t have to compromise on what you want to say. And you can share your ideas with as many people as you like. But a third of the world’s online users aren’t allowed to access sites by organisations like this one; which is why Amnesty International is launching Amnesty TV.
50 years ago, one man wrote to the media about a human rights abuse and a network of activists was born. 50 years and 3 million members later, we’re launching our own media. We’re using our freedom of expression online to protect those who have none.