Eyewitness video and human rights practice

This project will study the interplay between eyewitness videos in a digital media landscape and human rights practice.

The purpose of this research project is to provide an understanding of the increasingly important interplay between eyewitness video and human rights practice. An interplay that takes place in a media landscape characterized by an ever-proliferating range and number of people who now, almost routinely, make claims for their rights and about injustice in eyewitness images captured on digital (mobile) cameras and shared via online platforms.

The investigation will employ a practice-based, ethnographic approach to examine:

  1. how leading human rights organizations utilize and define eyewitness video as an evidentiary tool in their advocacy work,
  2. how eyewitness video is incorporated and defined as a form of legal evidence in courtrooms
  3. how grassroots image-makers themselves pose and put into action the justice potential of eyewitness video.

The project will thus provide original insights into the emergent institutionalization of eyewitness video in a human rights context, tracing how this is affecting historical and current ways of doing and understanding human rights. As a result, the project will contribute to theoretical and conceptual developments regarding the issue of the transformative power of eyewitness video and its potential to reconfigure relations of power and resistance in today’s political life, in general, and with regard to the new digital human rights landscape, in particular.



Principal Investigator

Kari Andén-Papadopoulos Professor in Media and Communication Studies


The Swedish Research Council