Flip Camera Worked: Video is a Powerful Tool

Arman Gharibyan is one of the leaders of Dignified Transport civic initiative. Together with a group of young people, concerned with the situation of the transport in the country, Arman organizes online and offline actions demanding from the Government to ensure safe and quality transport.

During Internews’ “New Media for Human Rights Defenders” conference, Arman presented his personal experience of supporting people through social networks. The conference was held on July 21-22 in Tsakhkadzor within the framework of Internews’ Reaching the Audience: Building the Skills of Armenian Human Rights Defenders Program. The latter’s previous trainees – representatives of human rights NGOs and civic initiatives – participated in the conference. They networked and shared information on their current and future activities, which are being implemented with the use of new media tools. Six most successful projects and initiatives were awarded prizes by Internews – flip cameras. Arman Gharibyan received one of those cameras.

The very next day after Tsakhkadzor conference, Arman came up with a Facebook post – a small video on a crowded city mini van. There was a huge feedback: Arman’s attempt to attract people’s attention worked. That day Arman enthusiastically produced his own video-message to all citizens dissatisfied with the city transport, asking to join the first offline action of Dignified Transport civic initiative.

On 25 July, the initiative activists organized the “Stop” action in one of the crowded bus stops in Yerevan. They disseminated flyers among the passers by highlighting violations of city mini vans and hazards to people when using them. During the coming weeks the actions continued with a new vigor, with more participants and attracting medias attention.

Simultaneously Arman turned to relevant state structures demanding to publicize such information, as responsibilities of the city transport operators, condition of the vans, etc. Upon obtaining the documents, Arman started videomonitoring by comparing the actual work of the transport and the one stipulated in the state documents.

As stated by Arman, “Video is a powerful tool for informing people about their rights. Informative statuses in Facebook do not attract as much attention, as one single video. Thanks to Internews’ trainings, I can now edit my videos myself. Moreover, as a result of the training, I learned crowdmapping, which is also very useful for our initiative.”