EngageMedia’s Executive Director Andrew Lowenthal introduces the Tech Tales films, a collection of eight films that highlight human rights stories in the digital age.
Digital rights and freedom of expression, speech and assembly are under threat everywhere – from authoritarian regimes to liberal democracies, and across the political spectrum.
The COVID-19 pandemic plunged us even deeper into the digital world, where tolerance of differing opinions seems to diminish as quickly as big tech surveillance and censorship increases. The utopian dream of a positive new world born from the internet appears long gone – a more dangerous and contested time has emerged, a more threatening and divided world that splits us apart rather than bringing us together.
Tech Tales aims to highlight these growing threats, whilst also revisiting the shared possibilities the internet could still offer with ample and dedicated advocacy.
In partnership with EngageMedia, eight filmmakers have made a wonderful contribution to these aims, producing a series of films that open conversation, probe difficult questions, and that we hope will be employed by civil society to advance their digital rights advocacy.
What is important is not just what has been done, but also how; from co-collaboration across a dozen or more different cultures and countries, to the use of creativity and storytelling to reach wider audiences with these critical issues. In addition, the primary platform for distribution is Cinemata, an open-source platform for social issue film distribution in the Asia-Pacific. Cinemata doesn’t mine user data, it is free and open-source, and it puts freedom of expression at the top of the list of priorities.
Finally, we would like to again thank our eight filmmakers; they have achieved much more than we had ever hoped, to say nothing of the incredibly difficult context of working within the pandemic.
Thank you to our advisory committee: Sam da Silva, Veronika Kusumaryati, Vidushi Marda, Adam Fish, and Jewell Maranan. Thanks to our funder, Sida, and thank you especially to the EngageMedia team for their excellent work.
We very much look forward to your feedback and engagement. Thank you.
EngageMedia, Executive Director