The democratization process is often uneven and rocky as the power dynamic shifts between governments and their respective power houses. In practically all cases in developing countries governments have been hostile to citizens, civil and political rights organizations and in the cases of young and emerging democracies evidence over the last few decades suggests that strides made towards democracy can be reversed, and countries can revert to less democratic practices and cultures failing the efforts to install or deepen democracy in countries with little experience of how to nurture such processes leaving democracy to chance or in many cases at the mercy of unchecked and rampant abuse by the very governments who might profess respect for its citizens’ civil and political rights.
Access to and the strategic use of ICTs have shown to have the potential to help bring about economic development, poverty reduction, and democratization including freedom of speech, the free flow of information and the promotion of human rights call, as well as their economic, social and cultural rights. In a country like Pakistan which has a long and complex history of human rights violations ranging from political abuses, religious intolerance, ethnic tensions, enforced disappearances and state terrorism citizen journalism powered by mobile phone cameras and social networking platforms have highlighted and published some of the grave atrocities committed by the state machinery which sadly never makes it to the mainstream media. A recent video evidence of Pakistani Army torturing Pakistani civilians has appeared on Facebook and YouTube, which is the strongest prove yet of claims by Human Rights and Missing Persons advocates that Pakistani Army is involved in kidnappings, torture and human rights abuses.
Unfortunately, this video was never shown or talked about in any of the so called independent news media channels of Pakistan. Even the URL on which the video was first uploaded was blocked by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on the instructions of Army HQ -- so much for the government’s claim of open and free internet. In another video titled “soul in trauma” shows the terrible torture and suffering of individuals accounts of enforced disappearances and barbaric state terrorism in the breakaway province of Balochistan:
In another incident Pakistani police which is famous for its long history of brutality and torture was also caught up in a video footage shot from a mobile phone and also broadcasted by one of the news channel showing the policemen publicly whipping suspected burglars.
The widespread adoption of video technology has a tremendous impact on the way we see and experience the world around us. In the form of citizen journalism, digital video is a valuable mode of investigation and reporting. Individuals can record and document current events directly as they are happening. Often, these stories cover actions and abuses that might be suppressed or ignored by more traditional outlets. Moreover, once video is distributed online it helps lend local activist efforts a voice at a global scale. Grassroots participation is one step toward inspiring real governmental change and policy reform. People are empowered to create the news that drives political and social campaigns, and ensuring that platforms exist to distribute content freely and widely is an important human rights issue. Open video on the web promotes the freedom to preserve and share knowledge, overcome censorship, and move beyond the limitations of familiar mass media.