Images and video footage are incredibly important in today’s digital news landscape. Images can be more powerful than text, conveying stories in a compelling and visual way to audiences around the world. They give us a window into warzones and protests, and equip us with a better sense of the realities on the ground. But images also come with their own set of challenges.
There is growing concern about the widespread proliferation of disinformation, with manipulated images and deep-fake videos, aimed at swaying public opinion. However, the legislation introduced to tackle this issue is often abused to silence independent or critical journalism. There are a number of other legal threats that visual journalists are confronted with, as demonstrated by those arrested when filming protests, or facing lawsuits for their cartoons.
We will hear from an expert panel about the challenges that come with visual journalism. Join us on Zoom on January 25th 2023 at 14:00 GMT (15:00 CET) to hear from the panellists about their experiences of not only pursuing visual journalism, but defending those who do.
We will hear from our trustee Galina Arapova about the legal challenges faced by visual journalists, such as photojournalists, documentary filmmakers, and newspaper cartoonists. Arapova is a renowned media lawyer, specialising in freedom of expression and freedom of information. She has defended journalists and media outlets before both domestic courts and the European Court of Human Rights.
Cartoonist Zach from the Philippines will discuss the role of cartoons in social justice and human rights discourse. Zach regularly contributes cartoons for Assortedge, an emerging online media organisation in the Philippines, specialising in contextual reporting, explanatory journalism and satire. Zach’s work is often critical of the state of human rights in the Philippines.
Moreover, we will hear from the Digital Verification Unit about how it documents and verifies digital evidence – such as images and videos – pertaining to human rights abuses, and how it uses open source investigative techniques in the pursuit of accountability. The Digital Verification Unit is based at the University of Essex Human Rights Centre, and its principal partner is Amnesty International. It is also a member of Amnesty’s Digital Verification Corps. The Digital Verificartion Unit also works with other partners such as NGOs and UN Commissions of Inquiry to advance human rights documentation and strengthen the veracity of information.
Matthew Gillett, Senior Lecturer in Law & Principal Investigator, Digital Verification Unit, University of Essex.