RLC in the Media: Citizen Journalism and Technology: Holding Police to Account

Advances in technology have enabled citizens with portable equipment to record and post incidents of police violence.  These people are commonly referred to as citizen journalists.

Faith Gordon and Hannah Klose report for Monash Lens

Citizen journalism shines a clear light on systemic discrimination and racism, the most high-profile recent example being the death of George Floyd in the United States.

This incident was captured by several citizen journalists, allowing the entire world to see with their own eyes what had occurred.

Aboriginal families in Australia who have been bereaved by the deaths in custody of family members have said that George Floyd’s death should act as a poignant reminder of the systemic issues in Australia.

It's evident that the relationship and trust levels between police officers and young people are often strained, linked to the legacies of "over-policing" in some communities.

On 1 June, a Sydney police officer threw a 16-year-old Indigenous boy to the ground by kicking his feet from beneath him, causing him to land face-first on the ground; all evidence of this was captured via mobile phone footage and posted on social media.

Reflecting on this incident, Redfern Legal Centre solicitor Samantha Lee said:

“Aboriginal young people, in particular, are disproportionately policed, not only in New South Wales, but across Australia."

Citizen journalists, investigative journalists and activists are crucial in ensuring that these realities of police-perpetrated violence are exposed. Yet, the advances in communications technologies to mobilise civic action are but one part of a much larger push for much-needed change to systems and practices that perpetuate discrimination and deny transparency, accountability and justice to those most affected.

Read the full story here (Monash University Lens, 30 July 2020)