Syrian Archive has recently joined the advisory committee of the Christchurch Call to Eliminate Terrorist and Violent Extremist Content Online, a group of civil society groups representing a range of human rights, freedom of expression, digital rights, counter-radicalisation, victim support and public policy perspectives. The committee, established to advise on implementation of the call was represented at last week's United Nations General Assembly by ten member organisations.
Our membership to the advisory committee follows our co-writing of a white-paper, Caught in the Net: The Impact of "Extremist" Speech Regulations on Human Rights Content, with Witness and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
That paper, submitted to the government of New Zealand earlier this year, demonstrates that in seeking to remove so-called "extremist" or "terrorist" content governments and platforms run the risk of inadvertently removing critical documentation of human rights violations and other crimes. In some cases, this content may be the only evidence that a crime has been committed and has the potential to hinder accountability efforts.
Social media platforms have become accidental archives, but takedowns have proven they are no place for long-term, safe storage of materials depicting human rights violations. Alternate strategies must be used to archive this material, and Syrian Archive seeks to fill this gap.
Get in touch if you or your media organisation has been affected by content takedowns on YouTube or other social media platforms or need assistance in securely archiving documentation materials.