United States Agency for Global Media

Iván Andino

The Lead

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You get wind of a planned protest by local farmers upset by the government’s decision to reduce tariffs on imported crops.

As a citizen journalist, you have built a reputation for reporting on community issues and sending footage and information to independent media outlets willing to carry your stories.

In your country, the authoritarian government imposes severe media restrictions. The only way for your stories to be seen by local audiences is for independent media outlets to record newscasts on DVDs and smuggle them into your country.

The Investigation

You interview the farmers, who fear that the country’s decision will threaten their livelihoods.

“My crop is all I have,” says Joel, one of the farmer.

You film the protest with your phone and call an editor of a prominent foreign media outlet to let him know about the demonstrations. He asks you to send him the footage.

The Confrontation

The police have been following you. They stop you while driving to an internet café where you have been planning to email the video.

“You understand what you are doing, right?” A police officer asks.

The officers violently arrest you, grabbing you by your throat and leaving you with a bloody cheek. They take your phone.

The Decision

The authorities release you after several hours of detainment. You are given back your phone, which somehow still has the footage of the protest. Apparently, the police could not find a way to unlock your password-protected phone.

You can try again to send the footage to the editor. Doing so may mean another arrest and potential violence against you. However, not doing so means the audience will not hear the farmers’ concerns. What do you do?