Journalist Mark Covell was beaten unconscious by Italian police during the 2001 Genoa G8 summit.
He speaks here about the power of independent media and how independent journalists should buddy up, train and prepare to cover potentially violent demos so as to keep safe.
He was speaking before a screening of Black Block, a documentary about demonstrators attacked in cold blood by Italian riot police. It was shown as part of the Human Rights Watch Festival 2012 in London.
I did the interview with fellow independent journalist Glenn McMahon, who used an iPhone and iRig mic to shoot a no-edit video interview based on the visionOntv mobile phone interview template. The idea is to shoot short videos that can be rapidly uploaded to the internet with minimal hassle, vastly increasing the chances of making media that gets seen.
If you’re interested in the Black Block the film, which I highly recommend, you can get a sense of its shocking story in the following trailer.
I’m set to interview Mimi Chakarova today, the maker of this film about the sex trafficking of East European women.
It’s a tough tale about how poverty makes young women in former Soviet bloc countries vulnerable to the promises of well-paid work as waitresses abroad, only for them to be trapped into prostitution.
I watched it last night, ending with a feeling of hopelessness. It’s hard to see how to make a difference in the face of so much misery, wrapped up in such shame and taboo. One quote that struck me particularly came from a male human rights campaigner in Dubai, one of the more blatant destinations for those inadvertently trapped into sexual slavery.
“This is about capitalism – you invented it, you brought it into the world we are just being the latest students of the system,” he said of his country’s lax approach to the sex trade.
The film’s great strength is that it goes beyond the personal stories of those women who are brave enough to speak up, striking as they are. It also points a lens at the systemic, economic, cross-border factors that keep a constant supply of new women arriving on the streets of Athens, Moscow, Dubai and countless other cities where money is easier than in the victims’ native lands.
We shouldn’t turn our heads away.