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A “Stop Torture” Campaign Essay


Introduction

The use of Web 2.0 can be helpful for bringing various forms of social change. Currently, these tools are often adopted in order to influence the work of governmental institutions and legislators. This paper is aimed at examining the media campaign launched by Amnesty International in effort to stop torture that can still be practiced in different countries. Currently, this brutal treatment can affect thousands of people who can be arrested or captured due to some reasons (Rejali 2009, p. 39). It should be noted that torture can be partly tolerated even by the governments of advanced countries that are deemed to be democratic.

For example, the government of the United States maintains Guantanamo Bay detention camp (Rejali 2009, p. 401). In many cases, the use of torture is prohibited in various international treatises; nevertheless, these rules are not properly enforced by the government (Rejali, 2009, p. 39). In turn, the use of torture can be a commonplace phenomenon in many developing countries (Stanley, 2008, p. 46). This is the main issue that Amnesty International tries to address.

Overall, this problem can be resolved only over a long time. It is critical to understand the way in which this organisation applies new types of media in order to attain its objectives. These are the main questions that should be discussed more closely. On the whole, it is possible to say that Amnesty International is able to mobilise people who have common views on the role of government and the rights of individuals. To some degree, this analysis can illustrate the use of Web 2.0 by non-governmental organisations.

The main objective of Amnesty International

Amnesty International strives to make sure that every detainee is safeguarded against the risk of torture that can take many forms (Amnesty International 2014b). Additionally, this organisation wants ensure that the information derived with the help of torture cannot be used against a suspect during trials (Amnesty International 2014b). This objective can be achieved in different ways. In particular, it is necessary to attract the attention of legislators to this problem and prompt them to adopt tighter regulations that can protect human rights of citizens.

This issue is particularly relevant if one speaks about developing countries in which the use of torture can be taken for granted. Moreover, it is vital to enforce the existing rules and bring to justice to people who used torture (Amnesty International 2014b). Again, one should bear in mind that even democratic countries can violate the international treatises that they signed before. The problem is that the cases of torture are not always properly investigated by the government. In fact, policy-makers can turn a blind eye to this problem because the investigation of such issues can harm their political career.

Thus, Amnesty International wants to make sure that people, who use torture, are brought to justice. The problem is that in many cases, these people can commit various atrocious acts with impunity. Thus, the main goal of Amnesty International can be divided into several specific tasks that can be carried over a certain period. Moreover, one can cope with them by influencing the work of legislators and governmental institutions. These are the main issues that can be distinguished.

Strategy

The strategy of this organisation is premised on the idea that social change cannot always be achieved with the help of top-down approach. In many cases, the state is too cumbersome, and one cannot expect the policy-makers to respond to every challenge almost immediately. This is one of the issues that should be taken into account. This is why more attention should be paid to the so-called grassroots movements which are independent of political parties or governmental institutions (Gillmor 2006, p. 7).

Their strategy can be successful provided that new media are involved. In this context, the term new media can be defined as those online resources which facilitate information sharing, mediated communication as well as social interaction (Campbell 2010, p. 9). Currently, Amnesty International applies different media in order to achieve their goal. First of all, one can speak about the website of this organisation. In particular, it contains information about the victims of torture (Amnesty International 2014).

Their personal narratives can eloquently demonstrate the abhorrence of this brutal treatment. Moreover, a visitor of this website can see what kind of steps can be taken in order to help the victims. The following photograph can illustrate the way in which they design their website.

The way in which they design their website.
(Amnesty International 2014a)

This example demonstrates that their website is a valuable tool that can assist Amnesty International in attaining its goals because people are able to sign petitions in support of people who could be tortured. Moreover, this website enables this organisation to reach a great number of people. This is the points that can be made.

Additionally, this organisation relies on YouTube in order to attract people’s attention to this problem. One should mention that this organisation has posted more than 600 videos on this website, and they can be viewed by thousands of people living in different countries. By visiting the YouTube channel of this organisation, people can become more aware of the atrocities committed in different countries, including the use of torture by police or military personnel.

Furthermore, the viewers of this video can access the website of Amnesty International. This video-sharing website is also important for this campaign, because this resource enables users to share their ideas about a certain problem. Moreover, they can discuss the methods of combating this injustice. Furthermore, one should speak about Facebook account of this organization. The users are able to access the links related to this campaign. For instance, one can speak about the section dedicated to Claudia Medina Tamariz who was tortured by a marine (Amnesty International 2014a).

People are able to discuss this problem. Moreover, they can share this information with their friends who may be registered on Facebook. It should be mentioned that the Facebook account of Amnesty International is connected with the official website of this organisation (Amnesty International 2014a). This is one of the issues that should not be overlooked. The following image illustrates the way in which their Facebook account is designed.

The way in which their Facebook account is designed.

This image can also throw light on the strategies used by organisation. In particular, a person, who accesses their Facebook account, can learn more about the victims of torture. Moreover, they can go the website of Amnesty International where they can submit a petition in effort to support these individuals.

In turn, Twitter also plays an important role in this digital campaign. This social network is particular useful because it enables users to learn about the most recent news as well as the activities of the organisation. In particular, the users can learn more about the most recent cases of human rights violations and the ways in which such problems can be addressed with the help of separate individuals.

Nevertheless, the most recent posts of this organisation are not directly related to the cases of torture. This is one of the limitations that should not be disregarded. Furthermore, one should mention that Flickr is also involved in this digital campaign. In particular, this organisation posts the images of protesters who try to attract the attention of policy-makers to the most urgent social problems, including the use of torture by governmental institutions in various countries.

The main shortcoming is that it is difficult to find photographs that are directly related to the campaign against torture. Moreover, a person, who is not familiar with the goals of Amnesty International, cannot immediately understand what kind of issues this organisation tries to address. This is one of the shortcomings that one should take into account while analyzing and evaluating the strategies adopted by this organisation as well as the efficiency of their media campaigns.

One should keep in mind that these online resources are accessible via various online technologies such as smartphones, laptops, or tablet computers. On the whole, the use of new media is valuable for spreading information. This goal cannot achieved with the help of traditional media such as television or newspapers. Thus, new media creates more opportunities for non-governmental organizations. This is one of the arguments that can be advanced. Moreover, these resources are useful for prompting people to take certain steps.

Amnesty International urges people to remember that they are able to bring changes into the life of the community. In particular, they can take part in demonstrations that cannot be overlooked by legislators. Moreover, they urge people to sign petitions that are necessary to start the investigation of possible torture cases (Amnesty International 2014b). The main shortcoming is that Amnesty International urges people to take step only at their official website. However, social media do not include any explicit calls for action. This deficiency significantly diminishes the effectiveness of their media campaign.

Thus, one can say that Amnesty International strives make use of various social medial in order to eradicate torture. Moreover, it is possible to argue that the campaign is not designed to achieve some short-term effects. The representatives of this organization understand that this social change cannot be achieved quickly. In turn, by relying on social media, an agency can better spread information and mobilise resources. Another issues that can be distinguished is that various online resources used by this organization are closely intertwined with one another.

To some degree, this practice intensified the effectiveness of this media campaign because in this way, Amnesty International can attract people who have diverse backgrounds. Nevertheless, these individuals have many things in common; for instance, they believe that empathy and political activism can transform the life of many modern communities and separate individuals (Wong, 2008, p. 105). In turn, social media can bring these people together. This is some of the main points that can be made.

Theoretical ideas about social change

Overall, it is possible to discuss several theories of social change because they can better explain the media campaign launched by Amnesty International. For example, one can speak about the post-modernist social theory. According to this approach, existing power structures attempt to impose their understanding of social norms and ethical principles on other people (Matin 2010, p. 12).

Very often this strategy can help them justify even the most atrocious acts such as torture. In turn, organisations, which want to bring social improvements and change the public opinion, need to create alternative sources of information because in this way one can influence people’s views on various social issues (Arriaga, 2006, p. 23). In turn, social media can be viewed as valuable tools for shaping the public opinion (Sheedy 2011, p. 26).

Apart from that, it is possible to discuss the evolutionary theory of change. On the whole, the use of Web 2.0 and interactive media is important for engaging various individuals. The main advantage of these technologies is that they enable people to generate new content and share ideas with one another. According to these model, social change is partly driven by economic and technological progress which makes people less dependent on the authorities (Sheedy 2011).

Moreover, the transformation of the society can be partly attributed to the small actions of separate individuals. This is one of the reasons why Amnesty International lays much stress on what a single person can do in order to stop torture in different countries of the world (Amnesty International 2014b). In turn, this idea can be better spread with the help of social media. Admittedly, these theories may not fully explain every kind of social change, especially revolutions. Nevertheless, they are useful for analyzing the strategies of Amnesty International and other non-governmental organisations.

As a rule, they want to rely on people who are able and willing to use social media like Twitter, Facebook and other social media because such individuals are more likely to perceive the world as the global village. This opinion is a part of their worldviews (Wong, 2008). Moreover, they can better spread the information which this organization wants to highlight. These are the main peculiarities of this approach.

One should keep in mind that Amnesty International cannot influence the work of governments in a direct way. In most cases, they need to rely on the work of volunteers who strive to bring improvements into the life of the community. Finally, this agency lays stress on the need for non-violent protest against illegal or unethical practices because violence undermines the legitimacy of political and social activism. Apart from that, Amnesty International provides guidelines that tell how a person should act, if they want to advocate for a certain social change.

In turn, it is possible to argue that Amnesty International can interact with a great number of supporters via different social media. Moreover, these online resources enable Amnesty International to coordinate the efforts of many people. Thus, the use of Web 2.0 is critical for increasing the effectiveness of this media campaign and protecting the life and health of many innocent people who can be easily arrested without a warrant. Moreover, they can be detained for a long time even without any accusations.

The impact of the strategy taken by Amnesty International

It is possible to say that this approach taken by Amnesty International is effective because this organisation is able to reach a great number of possible users who may be located in different countries. Moreover, these people are willing to take an active part in the life of the society. In their view, a person should not remain indifferent to the suffering of other people. Therefore, such individuals are more likely to attract the attention of policy-makers to this particular issue.

Moreover, they can prompt them to change the existing legislation or better enforce various rules that are already acknowledged by the state. This is one of the points that can be made. Admittedly, the campaign, which is aimed at stopping torture in different countries of the world, will be very time-consuming. It should be noted that Amnesty International strives to stop torture in different countries, and these countries may differ significantly in term of culture, political situation, or economic development. In some cases, the governments of these states do not want to consider the appeals of Amnesty International.

Therefore, one cannot assume that this strategy will yield tangible results in the short term. Such an assumption would be too naïve. Nevertheless, the activities of this organisation can highlight a certain problem and it can be included in the agenda of politicians or governments. In the long term, they can achieve the gradual social and political change in different counties of the world, even though these countries initially rejected liberal values. Very often, this goal could be attained with the help of diplomatic pressure. This is why their efforts should not be disregarded by people who study the work of Amnesty International

The way in which Amnesty International involves people

On the whole, Amnesty International tries to involve community members in the life of the community. In particular, this organisation urges people to sign petitions intended for various political leaders or governmental officials. For example, one can speak about the petition intended for the Federal Attorney General. Thus, this organisation tries to attract the attention of legislators, officials, or even political leaders who have more opportunities for investigating and responding to the cases of torture.

Additionally, this approach can be useful for protecting the lives of separate individuals. Apart from that, Amnesty International encourages people to take part in public demonstrations. Very often, such demonstrations can also prompt governmental officials to change their policies or even prompt foreign governments to abolish torture. In many cases, diplomatic pressure can be a useful tool for eradicating torture in different countries of the world. Very often, this strategy can support people who could be arrested unjustly.

Recommendations

It is possible to provide several recommendations to this organisation. First of all, Amnesty International should provide more information about their campaigns via various media such as Twitter and Flickr. As it has been said before, a person, who accesses these websites, may not easily find information about the most urgent problems that should be addressed. Additionally, Amnesty International should provide more information about the way in which separate activists can assist the victims of torture.

This information can be of great value to many people who need to know that actions can bring some changes or improvements. This information can be presented at Facebook page and their own website. Moreover, it is critical to show how Amnesty International can interact with governmental institutions that can represent different political systems as well as cultures. By discussing these issues in greater detail, this organisation can better engage people who will see that their efforts can bring tangible results.

In addition to that, Amnesty International should clearly describe the results that they have already achieved. In this way, they can show that the efforts of separate individuals are not fruitless. These issues can be discussed at Twitter or Facebook. Thus, separate people will be more motivated to take part in the programs launched by Amnesty International. These are some of the details that can singled out. These recommendations can significantly increase the efficiency of this organisation. Additionally, many of their future campaigns can yield better results. Therefore, they will better protect the rights and lives of citizens.

Conclusion

On the whole, this discussion indicates that the use of social media can be a valuable tool for shaping the work of governments or shaping the decisions of policy-makers. The main advantage of Web 2.0 is that these technologies enable people to share information with one another and discuss the most urgent questions that affect different members of the community. In addition to that, these online resources enable organisations to bring social change because in this way they can mobilise a great number of people relatively quickly. The examples that have chosen show that information technologies and new media can significantly benefit many non-governmental organizations. It is quite possible to say that these use of social media will persist in the future. These are the main arguments that can be put forward.

References

Amnesty International 2014a, Facebook Account, Web.

Amnesty International 2014b, Stop Torture, Web.

Arriaga, M 2006, The Modernist-postmodernist Quarrel on Philosophy and Justice: A Possible Levinasian Mediation, Lexington Books, New York.

Campbell, H 2010, When Religion Meets New Media, Routledge, New York.

Gillmor, D 2006, We the Media: Grassroots Journalism By the People, For the People, O’Reilly Media, Inc, Washington.

Matin, A 2010, Social Change and Planning, Pearson Education India, Delhi.

Rejali, D 2009, Torture and Democracy, Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Sheedy, C 2011, Social Media for Social Change: A Case Study of Social Media Use in the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, Web.

Stanley, E 2008, Torture, Truth and Justice: The Case of Timor-Leste, Routledge, New York.

Wong, W 2008, Centralizing Principles: How Amnesty International Shaped Human Rights Politics Through Its Transnational Network, ProQuest, London.

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