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  • Has anyone among you ever been exposed to tear gas?

  • Tear gas? Anyone?

  • I'm sorry to hear that, so you might know that it's a very toxic substance,

  • but you might not know that it's a very simple molecule

  • with an unpronouncable name:

  • it's called chlorobenzalmalononitrile.

  • I made it.

  • It's decades old, but it's becoming very trendy among police forces

  • around the planet lately, it seems,

  • and according to my experience as a non-voluntary breather of it,

  • tear gas has two main but quite opposite effects.

  • One, it can really burn your eyes,

  • and two, it can also help you to open them.

  • Tear gas definitely helped to open mine to something

  • that I want to share with you this afternoon:

  • that livestreaming the power of independent broadcasts through the web

  • can be a game-changer in journalism,

  • in activism, and as I see it, in the political discourse as well.

  • That idea started to dawn on me in early 2011

  • when I was covering a protest in São Paulo.

  • It was the marijuana march,

  • a gathering of people asking for the legalization of cannabis.

  • When that group started to move,

  • the riot police came from the back with rubber bullets, bombs,

  • and then the gas.

  • But to make a long story short,

  • I had entered that protest as the editor-in-chief

  • of a well-established printed magazine where I'd worked for 11 years,

  • and thanks to this unsolicited effects of tear gas,

  • I left it as a journalist that was now committed to new ways

  • of sharing the raw experience of what it's like to be there, actually.

  • So in the following week, I was back in the streets,

  • but that time, I wasn't a member of any media outlet anymore.

  • I was there as an independent livestreamer, and all I had with me

  • was basically borrowed equipment.

  • I had a very simple camera and a backpack with 3G modems.

  • And I had this weblink that could be shared through social media,

  • could be put in any website,

  • and that time, the protest went along fine.

  • There was no violence.

  • There was no action scenes.

  • But there was something really exciting,

  • because I could see at a distance the TV channels covering it,

  • and they had these big vans and the teams and the cameras,

  • and I was basically doing the same thing

  • and all I had was a backpack.

  • And that was really exciting to a journalist,

  • but the most interesting part was when I got back home, actually,

  • because I learned that I had been watched

  • by more than 90,000 people,

  • and I got hundreds of emails and messages of people asking me, basically,

  • how did I do it,

  • how it was possible to do such a thing.

  • And I learned something else, that that was actually the first time

  • that somebody had ever done a livestreaming in a street protest

  • in the country.

  • And that really shocked me,

  • because I was no geek, I was no technology guy,

  • and all the equipment needed was already there,

  • was easily available.

  • And I realized that we had a frontier here,

  • a very important one,

  • that it was just a matter of changing the perspective,

  • and the web could be actually used,

  • already used, as a colossal and uncontrollable

  • and highly anarchical TV channel, TV network,

  • and anyone with very basic skills and very basic equipment,

  • even someone like me who had this little stuttering issue,

  • so if it happens, bear with me please,

  • even someone like me could become a broadcaster.

  • And that sounded revolutionary in my mind.

  • So for the next couple of years,

  • I started to experiment with livestreaming in different ways,

  • not only in the streets but mostly in studios and in homes,

  • until the beginning of 2013, last year,

  • when I became the cofounder of a group calleddia NINJA.

  • NINJA is an acronym

  • that stands for Narrativas Independentes Jornalismo e Ação,

  • or in English, independent narratives, journalism, and action.

  • It was a media group that had little media plan.

  • We didn't have any financial structure.

  • We were not planning to make money out of this,

  • which was wise, because you shouldn't try to make money out of journalism now.

  • But we had a very solid and clear conviction,

  • that we knew that the hyperconnected environment of social media

  • could maybe allow us to consolidate

  • a network of experimental journalists throughout the country.

  • So we launched a Facebook page first, and then a manifesto,

  • and started to cover the streets in a very simple way.

  • But then something happened, something that wasn't predicted,

  • that no one could have anticipated.

  • Street protests started to erupt in São Paulo.

  • They began as very local and specific.

  • They were against the bus fare hike that had just happened in the city.

  • This is a bus.

  • It's written there, "Theft."

  • But those kind of manifestations started to grow,

  • and they kept happening.

  • So the police violence against them started to grow as well.

  • But there was another conflict,

  • the one I believe that's more important here

  • to make my point that it was a narrative conflict.

  • There was this mainstream media version of the facts

  • that anyone who was on the streets could easily challenge

  • if they presented their own vision of what was actually happening there.

  • And it was this clash of visions, this clash of narratives,

  • that I think turned those protests

  • into a long period in the country of political reckoning

  • where hundreds of thousands of people,

  • probably more than a million people

  • took to the streets in the whole country.

  • But it wasn't about the bus fare hike anymore.

  • It was about everything.

  • The people's demands, their expectations,

  • the reasons why they were on the streets

  • could be as diverse as they could be contradictory in many cases.

  • If you could read it, you would understand me.

  • But it was in this environment of political catharsis

  • that the country was going through

  • that it had to do with politics, indeed,

  • but it had to do also with a new way of organizing,

  • through a new way of communicating.

  • It was in that environment thatdia NINJA emerged

  • from almost anonymity to become a national phenomenon,

  • because we did have the right equipment.

  • We are not using big cameras.

  • We are using basically this.

  • We are using smartphones.

  • And that, actually, allowed us to become invisible in the middle of the protests,

  • but it allowed us to do something else:

  • to show what it was like to be in the protests,

  • to present to people at home a subjective perspective.

  • But there was something that is more important,

  • I think, than the equipment.

  • It was our mindset,

  • because we are not behaving as a media outlet.

  • We are not competing for news.

  • We are trying to encourage people,

  • to invite people, and to actually teach people

  • how to do this, how they also could become broadcasters.

  • And that was crucial to turndia NINJA from a small group of people,

  • and in a matter of weeks,

  • we multiplied and we grew exponentially throughout the country.

  • So in a matter of a week or two, as the protests kept happening,

  • we were hundreds of young people

  • connected in this network throughout the country.

  • We were covering more than 50 cities at the same time.

  • That's something that no TV channel could ever do.

  • That was responsible for turning us suddenly, actually,

  • into kind of the mainstream media of social media.

  • So we had a couple of thousands of followers on our Facebook page,

  • and soon we had a quarter of a million followers.

  • Our posts and our videos

  • were being seen by more than 11 million timelines a week.

  • It was way more than any newspaper or any magazine could ever do.

  • And that turneddia NINJA into something else,

  • more than a media outlet, than a media project.

  • It became almost like a public service

  • to the citizen, to the protester,

  • to the activist,

  • because they had a very simple and efficient and peaceful tool

  • to confront both police and media authority.

  • Many of our images started to be used in regular TV channels.

  • Our livestreams started to be broadcast even in regular televisions

  • when things got really rough.

  • Some our images were responsible to take some people out of jail,

  • people who were being arrested unfairly

  • under false accusations, and we could prove them innocent.

  • And that also turneddia NINJA very soon

  • in kind of to be seen as almost an enemy of cops, unfortunately,

  • and we started to be severely beaten, and eventually arrested on the streets.

  • It happened in many cases.

  • But that was also useful, because we were still at the web,

  • so that helped to trigger an important debate in the country

  • on the role of the media itself

  • and the state of the freedom of the press in the country.

  • Sodia NINJA now evolved

  • and finally consolidated itself in what we hoped it would become:

  • a national network of hundreds of young people,

  • self-organizing themselves locally

  • to cover social, human rights issues,

  • and expressing themselves not only politically

  • but journalistically.

  • What I started to do in the beginning of this year,

  • asdia NINJA is already a self-organizing network,

  • I'm dedicating myself to another project.

  • It's called Fluxo, which is Portuguese for "stream."

  • It's a journalism studio in São Paulo downtown,

  • where I used livestream to experiment

  • with what I call post-television formats.

  • But I'm also trying to come up with ways to finance independent journalism

  • through a direct relationship with an audience,

  • with an active audience,

  • because now I really want to try to make a living

  • out of my tear gas resolution back then.

  • But there's something more significant here,

  • something that I believe is more important and more crucial than my personal example.

  • I said that livestream could turn the web into a colossal TV network,

  • but I believe it does something else,

  • because after watching people using it,

  • not only to cover things but to express, to organize themselves politically,

  • I believe livestream can turn cyberspace into a global political arena

  • where everyone might have a voice,

  • a proper voice,

  • because livestream takes the monopoly of the broadcast political discourse,

  • of the verbal aspect of the political dialogue

  • out of the mouths of just politicians and political pundits alone,

  • and it empowers the citizen through this direct and non-mediated power

  • of exchanging experiences and dialogue,

  • empowers them to question and to influence authorities

  • in ways in which we are about to see.

  • And I believe it does something else that might be even more important,

  • that the simplicity of the technology can merge objectivity and subjectivity

  • in a very political way, as I see it,

  • because it really helps the audience,

  • the citizen, to see the world through somebody else's eye,

  • so it helps the citizen to put him- or herself

  • in other people's place.

  • And that idea, I think, should be the intention,

  • should be the goal of any good journalism, any good activism,

  • but most of all, any good politics.

  • Thank you very much. It was an honor.

  • (Applause)

Has anyone among you ever been exposed to tear gas?

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B1 INT TED tear gas journalism political tear livestream

【TED】Bruno Torturra: Got a smartphone? Start broadcasting (Bruno Torturra: Got a smartphone? Start broadcasting)

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    CUChou   posted on 2015/06/16
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