New Internationalist

Tactical tech to turn information into action

tortureinegypt.jpg [Related Image]

A guest post from the from the Tactical Technology Collective

When 25-year-old Noha Atef first started working as a journalist in Egypt, she discovered that police brutality and torture crimes were rife in her country. But she also learnt that state and domestic brutality were issues largely ignored by mainstream media and so she decided she would have to act independently to report on and address this issue. Her blog, tortureinegypt.net, is one of 25 stories of 'info-activism' included in a documentary we have produced at Tactical Technology Collective called 10 Tactics for turning information into action. In the film Noha explains that her blog posts led to the release of a prisoner who'd been illegally detained for fourteen years. She says that tortureinegypt.net “is inspiring to other internet users, especially bloggers” because it has raised awareness and provided evidence of torture crimes in a way that had never been seen before in Egypt.

Video footage from Noha Atef's blog, TortureinEgypt.net
Photo by Matthew Carrington

If you're someone who is passionate about human rights, making sure your information stands out is always a challenge. At the same time the increasing number of new technologies available open up a range of tools and tactics you can employ to achieve this. 10 Tactics offers inspiration and practical advice for rights activists who want to take advantage of digital realm opportunities to instigate real world change.

This film grew out of our Info-Activism Camp which brought a colourful group of rights-focused artists, designers, activists and technologists together to share their experiences and skills and learn about new advocacy practices for the digital age. We quickly realised how many of these grassroots activists had interesting stories to share of how they'd used technologies like geo-mapping, SMS campaigns, social network sites and video to advance human rights so we decided to record them.

The stories included in the film show that even with very few resources, humour, creativity, ingenuity and a few digital tools can be used to reveal truths which might be otherwise ignored or overlooked in society. Tactical Tech has documented these successful examples of grassroots info-activism with the view to inspire more people working on social justice and human rights to turn their information into action.

The film anchors the stories around 10 tactics such as “Expose the Truth”, “Witness and Record” “Just Add Humour”, “Use Complex Data” and “Visualise Your Message”. Watch one here:

The film is accompanied by a set of resource materials which suggest software, group brainstorming activities and practical advice for anyone wanting to get started with using these tactics in their own advocacy or campaigning.

10 Tactics is steadily building a community around info-activism as various activists, independent journalists and NGOs around the world have held their own screenings (now well over 100), and as they use the materials to develop new projects. We've helped this along by providing screening organisers with free 10 Tactics packs and other resource materials and by promoting and documenting their events. We continue to invite anyone interested to screen the film, translate it into their own language or just share the website with others looking for inspiration.

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