You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘media’ tag.

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Aug 12 – dbtvcampaign: #IfTheyGunnedMeDown which pic would they use? Thank you @underserverillance for Helping @dbtv13 shine light on the tragic shooting of 18yr old UNARMED Mike Brown, shot and killed by a St. Louis County police officer, show support by posting your photos! | Join in this movement. #DBTV #JPA #JusticeforMikeBrown #IFTHEYGUNNEDMEDOWN (Instagram)

“America. How do you think we look when the world can see you can’t come up with a police report, but you can find a video?”

— Rev. Al Sharpton, speaking at Michael Brown’s funeral, Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church, St. Louis, August 25th, 2014.

POLICING, IMAGING AND REIMAGINING POLICING

In the wake of Michael Brown’s killing by a police officer, the United States has been asked to look at itself in a grave and deep way, once more.

The Brown family, the Ferguson community and America generally must figure out how to turn a tragedy into a movement. The Brown family shouldn’t have to do this; they should be living normal lives, but once that police officer shot six bullets into Michael, their lives took an uncontrollable turn. Strength to them and to their ability to carry a movement born of circumstances no parent would want to endure.

Racial profiling is a national problem — the New York Police Department’s Stop & Frisk policy being the most overt example. Police abuse exists and minorities suffer the brunt of that abuse. The extent to which reports of mistreatment have declined among forces who adopted lapel-cameras for their officers is eye-opening. In Rialto, California — the city widely cited as the earliest pilot program of police officer body cams — had all 70 of it’s officer wear one. Between February 2012 and February 2013, public complaints against officers plunged 88% compared with the previous 12 months. Officers’ use of force fell by 60%.

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Aug 14 – djuantrent: #ForThoseWhoHaveBeenGunnedDown “…because our souls cannot rest at the hands of injustice.” More on Djuan Trent’s blog)

Following Ferguson, a renewed call to look at policing rings loud. The figures from Rialto and other pilots like it prove problems exist. We must remember that these figures are merely late confirmation of what poor communities have known and experienced for decades — that they receive a particular and disproportionate amount of scrutiny.

[Ferguson police have started to wear body cameras, albeit 50 cameras donated by two private companies.]

Thinking about these convergences of issues, it’s surprising how much of the conversation comes back to sight: What is the nature of watching a police search? How do we see our society? How do we see class and race? How do people see the police force? How does the state see, monitor and discipline the citizenry? How are images and imaging technologies used to put forth a case when accounts conflict and versions stand to convict or acquit?

How bad does it look when police roll in military armored vehicles in the face of peaceful protest?

These preoccupations over perceptions and narrative were never more in evidence than when the Ferguson police, who unable and/or unwilling to present an officer’s name or autopsy report to the enraged public, were able to publish a corner-store CCTV camera showing Michael Brown push the store owner. Quite how some unrelated grainy footage impacts the facts of a cold-blooded murder is beyond any of us. In the early scramble to win over the public during what quickly developed as a cops v. community narrative, the police turned to video. Desperate and insulting.

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Aug 13 – phoenixpsyd: If I were killed by police today, which picture would they use? #IfTheyGunnedMeDown #WhichPictureWouldTheyUse #IFTHEYGUNNEDMEDOWN (Instagram)

WHICH PICTURE WOULD THEY USE?

As awkward and insulting the police’s use of imagery was in the wake of Brown’s murder, the visual strategies employed by protestors was subtle, simple, subversive and hard hitting. On the streets, protestors walked with their arms in the air. Across the nation, the Tumblr Which Picture Would They Use gave young black Americans the opportunity to simultaneously show their support for the Ferguson protestors, skewer the media, and critique the duplicitous versions of character cast open them by wider society.

I am so impressed by Which Picture Would They Use. Its question is so simple and its rhetorical strategy so strong.

People of colour are subtly vilified daily, and young people of colour more so. Selfies are the snap of choice for many youngsters and Which Picture Would They Use is populated with dozens. This Tumblr shows that young millennials are savvy, canny, funny and more visually literate than us older folk. It shows that they’re totally hip to the media’s rating games. It’s a political engaged use of selfies and Tumblr’s “Like-culture.”

Which Picture Would They Use is a off-the-cuff (off-the-camera) stick in the eye to an ambivalent media. It doesn’t take much time, but the crowdsourced results are striking. Some might say youth might have been primed for this discussion (and controlled anger) following the politics surrounding the images of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman used in the media. But that would be glib. I would say each of the Which Picture Would They Use contributors are responding to years of experience and observations.

Which Picture Would They Use puts to bed the “conversations” about hoodies and the associated issues — race; presentation of the self; perceived dis/respect for adult America; generation gaps; and popular culture.

Hoodie or not, sports team colours or not, cross-dressing, swimwear or military fatigues, it doesn’t matter. Which Picture Would They Use demonstrates that we’re all combinations of many different traits and our personalities are not fixed. It is ludicrous to reduce a person to a single reading based upon the appearance of a dominant (most widely-circulated) image.

The young black Americans submitting to Which Picture Would They Use know Michael Brown had already been judged by a portion of America and know the remainder would judge (even if unconsciously) based upon the media’s choice of images.

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Aug 12 – dbtvcampaign: #IfTheyGunnedMeDown which pic would they use? Thank you @labeledmisfit_ for Helping @dbtv13 shine light on the tragic shooting of 18yr old UNARMED Mike Brown, shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer. (Instagram)

Well, well, well. All sorts of commentary on the importance of photographs surrounding the assassination of Osama bin Laden and President Obama’s announcement in the East Room with reenactment of his speech for the still cameras.

From the White House Situation Room (now with added memes) and Reuters’ bloody gallery (WARNING: Graphic images of corpses) to whether we deserve or need to see bin Laden’s bullet-riddled head. Then there’s Senator Scott Brown’s faux-pas over a hoax photograph. Not to mention the reported different versions of the actual event.

For all the best articles click on the links over on Raw File Blog’s twitter feed, where I’ve been compiling them all day.

There’s still one photo – to be precise its caption – that is bothering me. And it’s this one:

White House photographer, Pete Souza, captioned the image thus: “President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011.”

Except everywhere I’ve seen it used, the inference is that the White House team are watching a live feed of the raid on bin Laden’s compound.

They might be, but I want a SOURCE.

It seems to me this image may have been interpreted as one thing at an early stage and because it the narrative tied to the body language is so seductive, no-one has chosen to question it.

I think the reading of the image is massively altered depending on whether you think they’re watching murders in progress or whether they are, for example, waiting nervously for the screen to boot up.

Ryan Singel for Wired.com’s Epicenter blog went as far to say the White House “officials watching what one presumes is the livestream of the Navy Seal raid on Osama’s hideout in Pakistan.

For all the hullabaloo about this image, no-one is actually sure about what is on THAT screen.

So, does anyone have a solid source saying that they are viewing a live feed of the operation?

 

©Aaron Huey Source: http://www.emphas.is/home.html

PREAMBLE

I just watched a great independent documentary about PsychOps and their widespread use in consumer propaganda. It is no surprise that empire is built on  mind-plays upon the populace with regard their daily choices as it is on the mind-plays upon the same populace to sell its military invasions and murder during time of war invasion & occupation in foreign lands.

MEDIA & CONTROL

It’s still too early in the new media game to see if power really can be wrenched from big media – partakers in the psych-ops – and put into hands of the little guys. (And, this is not to suggest that the little guys will make better decisions, but it’d be a shift for sure). But, in terms of media and the stories we want told, can we imagine a media landscape over which we have more control?

We can feed photojournalism directly, if we only imagine ourselves as being in power.

Two tools have come to light this past week which seem feasible.

The first, Flattr, is a web-app which allows the user/recipient (note, I shied from the term ‘consumer’!) to express instant gratitude and give money to the producer of content. Flattr is built into the infrastructure of the web and applies to any and all content, not just photographer and not just journalism.

The second, Emphas.is, pertains specifically to photojournalism. If we are sick of celebrity pap filling our screens should we not be chomping at the bit for a model of production/consumption that is advertisement free and hands us some agency?

WHERE TO PLACE THE EMPHAS.IS

Emphas.is is well aware of the success of the crowd-funded model in other areas of journalism. It seems, in my opinion, to be modeling itself on Spot.Us, progressing the format and making specific its use. I know that the widespread incorporation of the platform – and even the code of the site! – were things that Spot.Us founder Dave Cohn had in mind from the start. Adopt and fine-tune for the benefit of crowd-funded media.

Spot.Us was open to photojournalist pitches, but the platform diluted the impact of PJ work amidst all its other journalistic efforts. It seems like the photo-community would be more secure if it knew it had a place to call its own. In Emphas.is it now does.

Also, in its early stages, Spot.Us necessarily focused regionally, sprouting steadily across US metropolitan regions. Emphas.is looks to have a more global view – which is only right; times and expectations of new media have changed, grown up.

Kickstarter too has served many photographers well, but its reach is even wider than Spot.Us serving mainly creatives.

So, for me at least, Emphas.is seems to fall between Spot.Us and Kickstarter

Emphas.is has an impressive list of endorsements from photo-editors and photographers (Philip Blenkinsop, Carolyn Drake, Jan Grarup, Michael Kamber, Teru Kuwayama, Dominic Nahr, Jerome Sessini, Anthony Suau, Tomas van Houtryve, Kadir van Lohuizen).

Emphas.is is the brainchild of photo editor Tina Ahrens and photojournalist Karim Ben Khelifa.

Emphas.is is set to launch early 2011. I think we should start saving our pennies for the first round of pitches.

Related to crime and tangentially to prisons, Colin Pantall has been examining the cult, mythologies and obfuscations at the point where visual media and female criminals cross. He does so over four posts.

Pantall summarises: In Media and Crime, Yvonne Jewkes identifies seven standard narratives to describe women who commit serious crimes:
• Sexuality and sexual deviance
• (Absence of) physical attractiveness
• Bad wives
• Bad mothers
• Mythical monsters
• Mad cows
• Evil manipulators

Pantall challenges:

He takes on the common consumption of Myra Hindley’s mugshot:

“The world brought bored indifference to her mentor, the sadistic, fascistic Ian Brady. He was just another bad bloke.”

“It is a police photograph taken in maximum light in a dungeon. That stark, sinister expression could also be one of fright, ­ the antithesis of the transgressive transcendence conceived by Brady.”

Pantall compares: the national disgust at a smirking bully with the forgiveness of the victims parents.

Finally, Pantall confesses he has no idea if Amanda Knox is guilty or not.

In his ‘Trial by Photography’ post he points out that she’s already been judged for not behaving – or looking – innocent in front of the cameras.

He closes, astutely noting, “A virtual reconstruction of the murder of Meredith Kercher was shown in court, with the screen fading to red at the end. Which puts everything about the trial into question.”

Now we know what the six jurors and two judges think. Did the visual aides used by the prosecution disproportionally affect Knox’s guilty verdict?

devstory

A Developing Story is a new joint venture by Johnny Bennett, Phil Maguire and Benjamin Chesterton of duckrabbit.

In an email a few months ago, Ben said to me his interest lies in “getting under the skin of NGOs” and have them realise that they can deliver their stories and campaigns in far more effective ways. A Developing Story wants the stories told in Government & NGO international development campaigns to outlast the short term objectives of said campaigns.

A Developing Story proposes that the media of these campaigns is deposited in a common silo, accessible by all (usually under a Creative Commons license) so stories – once created – can tell themselves infinitum.

While we believe that there’s clear value in bringing together this public-facing, awareness-raising communication material, we also want to do something similar for communications that are used in international development – e.g. radio scripts, posters, mobile text messaging campaigns, etc, used in health campaigns, etc.

Unfortunately, almost none of this material is available in the public domain. A public health campaign about the risks of HIV is run in South Africa, for example, but the artwork and radio scripts aren’t available to someone doing the same thing in Malawi six months later. And that’s what we want to change.

We believe that all Government funded communications for use in international development should be available in a central, easily accessible database under Creative Commons licenses. A database where photographs, posters, scripts, public information leaflets, etc, can be downloaded, copied, translated and adapted for local audiences, saving practitioners time and money and therefore ultimately saving lives.

In an age where we recycle many of our physical objects, it seems strange that most of the international development communications work funded by Governments, IGOs and even NGOs is completely lost after the short campaigns they promote.

Given the primacy of Creative Commons and open-source content, Matt and Scott at DVAfoto needed clarification on A Developing Story‘s impact on the photographer (which was provided). I have fewer worries as I feel this venture is aimed at transforming media sharing practices among government funded and NGO initiatives rather than another pressure on the distribution and remuneration of individuals’ works.

I would anticipate that the payments made to photographers and journalists by media campaign management will continue and that photographers will take on assignments in the knowledge that their work can be used repeatedly for non-profit purposes.

That said, A Developing Story is very open to individual contributions. This is the most relaxed approach to collaboration I’ve witnessed!

We’re always looking for contributing editors. So whether you’re a blogger, a photographer, an academic or an aid worker we’re keen to hear from original voices.

We’re particularly interested in multimedia work, so if you want to post monthly podcasts from the Congo, or a slideshow from Myanmar, then do get in touch. There’s no obligation attached to being a contributing editor, you only have to contribute once, and you can post as infrequently as you like.

So, as Ben asked, “Can You Help?”

That the Ministry of Justice and Prison Service have embarked on a course of activity in an effort to disrupt my blog only reinforces my view that I was right to intrude on the public. That the MoJ and the HMPS have the brass neck to portray themselves as guardians of the law while traducing it reveals the very underbelly of criminal justice morality that my blog wishes to illustrate.

Ben Gunn, Guardian. Monday September 14th, 2009

There is an interesting debate growing in the UK. Should prisoners be allowed to blog?

bbcprisonblogging

Ben Gunn, who claims to be the only serving UK prisoner who blogs, had a letter to his wife intercepted by the prison governor and told “the content is interesting enough to be published on the internet” and on this ground it was stopped from leaving the prison.

Gunn set up the blog at the end of August. He writes the content and his editor posts it to the web.

Gunn has caused a stir with forthright opinions on politicised victims groups, spineless politicians and poor prison management. These, he argues, are not fallacious rants, but genuine problems of an overly-punitive system and disengaged society.

Furthermore, Gunn argues that despite his original sentence of 10 years, he remains in prison after 30 because he has continuously challenged the prison authorities. At present Gunn is engaged in research towards a PhD, focused upon the role of Human Needs Theory in prison conflicts.

My question “How do we feel about Prison Bloggers?” is largely rhetorical. How we feel about them makes no impingement on their lawful right to write and publish from prison. Let’s be absolutely clear here. Gunn is breaking NO LAW.

The only law that may pertain is that Gunn may receive no compensation for his writing while a ward of the prison service. But this was never the issue at stake. Gunn’s free speech was deliberately quashed by the administration of a system that stood to face criticism through his words.

The official position as summarised by another excellent prison rights blogger John Hirst (The Jailhouse Lawyer):

The Ministry of Justice writes: “There is no specific Prison Service policy on prisoners using or posting blogs, as they do not have direct unregulated access to computers or the internet”. However, the reply goes on to to say that it can be implied from Prison Service order 4411, that a prisoner cannot ask someone else to communicate what the prisoner is not in a position to do himself and which violates the rules. The MoJ has clearly failed to take into account the human right to freedom of expression guaranteed under article 10 of the European convention, and prisoners’ rights to contact the media “on matters of legitimate public interest“.

I agree with many of Gunn’s positions, I don’t appreciate his tone sometimes, but I think he must absolutely exist within the dialogue about British criminal justice. His thoughts as a serving prisoner are of central value to debate and an informed public.

The echoes ring true and far. Gunn’s concerns over misinformation, scare-mongering and codes of silence are as acute (if not moreso) in the US prison industry.

I’ll leave you with Gunn’s view on prevailing distortions to debate and his admirable defiance:

In reducing discussions to trite slogans and vote-grubbing soundbites, we debase ourselves as a collective and as people. I realise that I pose a challenge, but regardless of any efforts expended by the government I am not going away.

_____________________________________________________________

As well as the Guardian sources linked in this article, the BBC picked up on this story and includes a brief but informative audio discussion of the issue.

_____________________________________________________________

Editor’s note: It seems strange that in the UK this quasi-controversial issue has taken a long time to rear its head – after all, Michael Santos has been blogging from US federal prisons at his own Prison Journal and as a guest at Change.org since January 2009.

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