Yesterday Invisible Children released a “sequel” video to Kony2012, in defense of the organizations’ actions, in response to its biggest criticisms, and to re-propose its original public participation platform including “Cover the Night”. It took two weeks to make. Most notable differences between the two videos include some very obvious changes: diversifying the voices, including more Ugandan/Congolese interviews, engaging in somewhat-greater dialogue about the situation, a loud absence of co-founder Jason Russell, and a more mellow self-confidence. In fact the new video appeared to explicitly and discretely address every major criticism – from robbing natives of their agency in forming solutions to a global problem, to the complaint that their budget outline lacks concrete solution-strategies within the country. Narration instead of Jason Russell was done by CEO Ben Keesey, who was noticeably less-often in the front of the shot than was Jason Russell in the first video.
I’m curious to see if this version of the video not only earns less viewership, but draws a smaller amount of discourse than the first Kony2012. Do people (those at least loosely in the field, talking about this stuff) care that a sequel video was released in address to their voices, and if so, did it do enough justice? Does this organization deserve any sort of punishment for at best, misrepresenting, at worst, partly endangering many peoples? I’m referring to some concerns that Joseph Kony’s new-found fame would persuade him to “change his tactics”. Do the ever-increasing capabilities of ICTs necessitate greater oversight on the missions of NGOs in general? This is obviously an unprecedented event in the spread of a message; on top of that it involved a foreign international conflict- something that would likely be a huge risk in the hands of young teenagers’ craving hearts. I want to believe that citizens internationally can overcome geographic and political boundaries to help each other and talk freely; I do believe that ICTs have enabled such a thing to a great and positive extent. However, can ordinary people become a security risk by being naturally misinformed as foreigners? It may not be that Jason Russell was wrong to such a dire extent. But I wonder if the next one could be.