The Camcorder as a Shield

From Mexico to the Czech Republic, camcorder-toting nonprofessionals are turning video into a human rights tool.

Photo: Necessary Illusions Productions

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


That many of the biggest news events of the past decade were captured by camcorder-toting nonprofessionals suggests that reality TV might well be a medium of the people. By gathering incriminating images from around the globe — from the mistreatment of psychiatric patients in Mexico to neo-Nazi activities in the Czech Republic to police violence against migrants in South Africa — Seeing Is Believing depicts the camcorder as a shield. Human-rights abusers, the theory goes, are less inclined to shoot bullets if someone nearby is shooting tape.

The film centers on brutalized Filipino tribespeople who are seeking land reform; their horrifying video images of murdered civilians end up on U.S. network television. Seeing Is Believing doesn’t delve into the question of what kinds of raw footage are too raw for the networks — perhaps because, with its precise one-hour running time and pbs-ready voice-overs, the movie wants to get on the air itself.


THE END...

of our fiscal year is Thursday, June 30, and we have a much larger fundraising gap than we can easily manage with only days left to go.

Right now is no time to come up short: If you value the hard-hitting, democracy-protecting, justice-advancing journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us keep charging as hard as we possibly can with a much-needed and much-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

THE END...

of our fiscal year is Thursday, June 30, and we have a much larger fundraising gap than we can easily manage with only days left to go.

Right now is no time to come up short: If you value the hard-hitting, democracy-protecting, justice-advancing journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us keep charging as hard as we possibly can with a much-needed and much-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate