Rio 2016 Human Rights Live

An Alternative View on Rio from Activist and Eyewitness Livestreams and Social Media

Our Alternative Rio Live finds, contextualizes and presents the eyewitness accounts and the livestreams that show the stark alternative realities of human rights violations underlying and occurring at the Summer Olympics 2016 in Rio. Via these media, international audiences who tuned into the Olympics could also understand and directly experience alternative voices and realities. The project also aimed to provide journalists with a ready source of current contextualized eyewitness and livestream content.

We used Timeline below to share eyewitness, social media and live footage tracking a timeline over the past weeks and days of protest suppression, contestation of public spaces, violations of free speech and the ongoing impact of militarization in the favelas and forced evictions as the Olympics continue.  You can also visit our Brazil focus page to understand human rights violations taking place in the context of the Games in more detail and via a lens of WITNESS’ ongoing work.

We also tracked and curated livestreams of the alternate reality of the Olympics. We asked you to help us crowdsource livestreams here and we constantly monitored Facebook Live, Twitcast and Periscope.


Featured streaming

We’re using, an experimental curation platform to share and contextualize livestreams.

Pick a stream: You can select the livestream you want to view and switch between videos on the left hand side of the screen.

Understand context: Click on the arrow on the right hand side of the screen to see additional contextual information – tweets, maps, videos, text, and log-in to suggest resources we should include.

One tip: If you have no audio on a Facebook Live video close the curation box by pressing on the arrow, and you will find the mute box hidden under the curation panel.

We are using Crowdvoice to curate additional social media information about the social and human rights context of Rio 2016. We also include there the Facebook Live and Periscope streams after they’ve happened.

What happened?

(We curated Deepstream context around livestreams from these events)

Aug 5: Protests took place this morning in the vicinity of Copacabana beach and Maracanã. It combined opponents and critiques of President Temer, with criticism of the impact of the Olympics.

Aug 11: Occupy Golf protest in the olympic golf course, built in an enviromental reserve.

Aug 13: Activists visit Vila Autódromo, a community of 600 families evicted right next to Olympics Park

Aug 18: Activists go to Favela Skol (Favela do Alemão), another community evicted

Check selected livestreams emerging in week 1 of the Olympics and also an experiment with how we can add context and make sense of livestream after the fact.

In the last week, we featured a special broadcast of the independent media activist television, Mutirão Television. On the final night of the Olympics we also collaborated with the Mutirão team to contextualize with additional studio commentary a Mobil-Eyes Us livestream from the site of a guerilla protest.

Mobil-Eyes Us Pilot: Maximizing the power of live video and activist networks during the Olympics

We’ve also been running a small-scale pilot of the Mobil-Eyes Us initiative. Mobil-Eyes Us is a project of WITNESS that aims to harness the power of live video and emerging task-routing tools to help frontline activists tap into distributed networks of supporters, turning viewers into active witnesses who can provide guidance, leverage, and solidarity in real time.

Our pilot during the Rio Olympics involves collaboration with frontline communities affected by human rights violations to share a series of live-streams and related opportunities for supporters and watching ‘distant witnesses’ to experience directly what is happening, support actions around human rights, and move from being viewers to active witnesses taking action in support of frontline communities.

Here in a blog post after our first ten days you can see what we’ve been trying, what we’ve learned and find links to livestreams. We’ll be continuing into the following week after the Olympics continuing to support residents of Favela Skol.

To learn more visit our Mobil-Eyes Us page and sign up to be a ‘distant witness’ and be alerted to live-streams and relevant opportunities to act in future pilot projects.

Latin America Independent Media Meeting, the Mutirão Rio 2016: free media workshops and an unique journalistic coverage of the social impacts of Olympics 2016

A year ago, following discussions at a Latin America convening of the Video4Change network, members of Latin American media collectives began organizing the Mutirão Rio 2016 to bring representatives of free media together for the Olympics to share experiences and tactics for using information technologies in extreme human rights situations.

During the games, the group has been conducting various activities to challenge the way mainstream media promotes the spectacle of the “integration of the people” and sports propaganda during mega-events.

The mission aimed to draw attention to the narratives of the local people, revealing the context in which the event is being held and exposing the real impacts for the residents of Rio. Through strengthening networks of communicators in Latin America and by documenting the experience, this initiative it also sought to share tactics and learnings with others covering future mega-events and to inspire more collaborations and convenings of indy mediamakers.

Participants included more than 15 journalists form Peru, Mexico, Chile, Guatemala, Ecuador, the United States and Brazil, who acted as international correspondents for more than 30 outlets from across the continent, creating a sounding board for voices of those impacted by the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro.

WITNESS’ Jackie Zammuto wrote two blogs documenting the event: a first Dispatch from Rio: An Alternative Look at the Olympics and her subsequent one here.

Other English content and workshop materials will also be shared here in the portal.