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Ghouta Attack Underlines Value of Documentation- The SJAC Weekly Update

9/4/13 8:00 PM



The SJAC Weekly Update- September 3, 2013

Ghouta Attack Underlines Value of Documentation

In addition to exposing and recording the reality of a horrifying chemical weapons attack, the photos, videos, and written reports from Ghouta also brought increased attention to the power of documentation itself. The concentration of documentation from Syrian citizens, journalists and groups and not by foreign reporters, western NGOs, or even official organizations produced huge amounts of generally reliable information. This information not only educated the world about the events in real-time, but also forms a significant historical record that could be valuable to Syrians in transitional justice efforts by laying the foundation for prosecuting officials, informing truth-seeking efforts, and serving as a credible basis for memorialization processes. Search Ghouta on Youtube and the results yield about 17,000 hits from this month alone. Many of these videos have been integrated into televised and online media coverage of the chemical attack around the world. It is an exemplary case underlining the potential and critical impact that documentation can have on increasing the global knowledge of such events. It is not, however, surprising. Internationally-recognized and well-established news organizations are increasingly drawing on locally-produced publicly-available citizen journalism for photos and videos of events on the ground in hazardous places such as Syria. These sources of information can ensure the media can access locations too dangerous for their staff. The chemical weapons attack in Ghouta, in an area inaccessible at the time to international media, underlined just how necessary such local documentation can be under these circumstances. (Image: still from Kifr Batna City Youtube video.)

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Ghouta Attack Underlines Value of Documentation- The SJAC Weekly Update

9/4/13 8:00 PM

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The SJAC is an independent, non-political, Syrian-led, and multi-laterally supported organization that serves as a coordinating body for all actors promoting transitional justice and accountability for Syria. The SJAC provides vetted, accurate data on human rights violations occurring on all sides of the conflict in Syria. The SJAC expertise and data is used in the transitional justice process for Syria.

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