The YouTube Effect РMoisés Naím

Foreign Policy Magazine article uses the shooting of Tibetan refugees by Chinese border guards as an example of the so-called “ effect”:

Files A video shows a single line of people slowly trudging up a snow-covered footpath. A shot is heard; the first person in line falls. A voice-over says, “They are shooting them like dogs.” Another shot, and another body drops to the ground. A uniformed Chinese soldier fires his rifle again. Then, a group of soldiers examines the fallen bodies.

These images were captured high in the Himalayas by a member of a mountaineering expedition who claims to have stumbled upon the killing. The video first aired on Romanian television, but it only gained worldwide attention when it was posted on YouTube, the popular video-sharing Web site. Human rights groups explained that the slain were a group of Tibetan refugees that included monks, women, and children. According to the Chinese government, the soldiers had fired in self-defense after they were attacked by 70 refugees. The posted video seems to render that explanation absurd. The U.S. ambassador to China quickly lodged a complaint protesting China’s treatment of the refugees.

Welcome to the YouTube effect. [Full text]


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