Internet Activism: Ricken Patel and Samantha Nutt

The world is a-Twitter about the upsurge of activism at the click of a button. Online movements doing the work of journalists, governments and traditional aid groups. They've gotten cameras and medical supplies into Syria. Healthy journalists in and wounded and dead ones out. But not without risk and injury. Today we talk to the founder of Avaaz.org. And can the latest online cause to go viral, Kony 2012, really help catch the world's most wanted man?



Three of The Current

Internet Activism: Ricken Patel

We started this part with a clip of The Sunday Times photographer, Paul Conroy, describing his dramatic escape from Homs, Syria last week. Conroy was wounded in the same attack that killed the Sunday Times foreign correspondent Marie Colvin and a French photographer.

The people Conroy praised for resucing him were Syrian activists. And many paid the ultimate price for their courage. 13 were killed by Syrian government forces. Behind the scenes of the rescue and helping to organize and coordinate the Syria resistance is the humanitarian group, Avaaz.

The online activist orgnization is just five years old but is already influential in a number of international causes. And its influence continues to grow. Ricken Patel is the Canadian co-founder of Avaaz.org and he was in our New York City studio.

Internet Activism: Samantha Nutt

Online activism has emerged as a powerful tool, using social media to motivate millions. Just this week, online activism reached a new level by making an internet celebrity of a terrifying African warlord. Joseph Kony is leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, a militia active in central Africa for more than 25 years.

The group is accused of turning boys into soldiers and girls into sex slaves. Kony is at the top of the International Criminal Court's World's Most Wanted list. And in 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama sent troops to Uganda to help track Kony down. Kony, however, remains at large.

The charity, Invisible Children, wants Kony arrested, and it posted a 30 minute video about him on the internet.
It got the world's attention and it's been viewed 30 million times. The man behind the film, Invisible Children's co-founder Jason Russell. Millions were moved and angered by the video, but the group behind it and its motives, is facing intense scrutiny as well.

For her thoughts on all of this we were joined by Samantha Nutt. She's Founder of War Child and the author of Damned Nations: Greed, Guns, Armies and Aid. She was in Toronto.

This segment was produced The Current's Lara O'Brien and Kristin Nelson.

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