Making advocacy videos without a camera

Some of the most powerful advocacy videos that have been created in recent years have been made without a camera. Short three and four minute videos such as those made by Avaaz have reached enormous audiences around the globe through dissemination on video sharing sites such as Youtube. You can check out more examples elsewhere on this site.Astrubal's blog

One of the leading exponents of this method is Sami ben Gharbia who with his colleague Astrubal uses found footage, remixing techniques, graphics, animation and screen captures to produce videos with a focus on human rights advocacy in Tunisia. The fact that Youtube and other video sharing sites have been blocked in Tunisia is in part testimony to the power of such subversive videos.Read more on the background to media censorship and freedom of speech in Tunisia on the Human Rights Watch Website

Sami attributes part of his success the fact that he uses the Tunisian propaganda machine against itself – for example by using government slogans and showing them over images of political prisoners. Other videos show show images of  Tunisian dictator Ben Ali in a washing machine, making the point that a military dictator can’t wash off his military and security background.

Sami feels that using video is a great way of reaching audiences such as younger people who might not be interested in more conventional campaigning techniques – and points to the comments on his his YouTube channel at  as proof of this.

These videos also help make potentially complex issues such transparency and accountability accessible to audiences who might not immediately connect with such issues. One of the most innovative videos made by Astrubal used Google Earth to track the use of the Tunisian presidential plane to expose how it had been used at taxpayers expense for unofficial shopping trips and holidays.