Speculations on Openings, Closings, and Thresholds in International Public Media
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Blog cowritten by Sam Gregory, Program Director, WITNESS, and Patricia Zimmermann, professor of Cinema, Photography and Media Arts and codirector of the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festval, Ithaca College
PART THREE: Towards Provisional Ethical Working Principles of Social Media and Human Rights
Overarching all these questions of ethical responsibility – to the person, to the story, to action - is the change in relationships between the one-on-one negotiation of consent, rights and usage between a documentarian and a subject, a largely binary relationship or series of relationships, on an ethics of an image grounded in a particular relationship to a focus on an ethics of networks, of material circulating, re-combining and being re-used in multiple relationships between people often far distant from the source originators (the filmer, the filmed).
Some provisional principles might include:
We are now in a world of purposeful witnesses, of casual producers, documentary producers and advocacy producers, of governmental, corporate and non-governmental promoters of technology as panacea, of curators and aggregators, of citizen participants in projects of collective voice, and of re-mixers, re-purposeful witnesses and casual sharers of the spreadable and viral.
The question of ethical engagements between all of these sectors for human rights is the challenge we must all enter into, proposing both solutions and questions.