Intercultural Human Rights Law Review

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This article examines the impact of media witnesses in the field of human rights, looking especially at the rise of citizen media and the use of the Internet and social media by activists and international organizations. Despite the need to interrogate the technological determinism underlying many claims for digital media technologies, the development of 'citizen media' is a promising avenue for international law. New technologies can help actors connect with each other, engage new audiences, and potentially also assist with documentation, evidence gathering and compliance. But such possibilities bring dangers and difficulties which will not easily be resolved. This article examines the methodology of 'witnessing,' its significance for the media and for human rights, and their fusion in the context of digital media forms. These developments occur against a backdrop of the increasing significance given to the role of publicity in the international system. I argue that these processes are emblematic of broader moves towards mediated advocacy in the human rights sector, a phenomenon I term the 'mediatization' of international law.

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