Digital civilian detectives

This Dutch documentary follows various civil initiatives to harness new information technologies to investigate and disclose information about otherwise unseen violence against civilians. The documentary includes the work of organizations like Bellingcat, Airwars, and Forensic Architecture who work to piece together open source material to reconstruct and document for example the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons and the torture practices in the feared Saydnaya Prison. The documentary addresses not only the potential of new information technology to transform ordinary citizens into detectives, but also the risk and danger faced by citizen journalists and detectives active in Syria and Iraq. The documentary is a reminder that despite these new tools for the documentation of human rights violations, much remains invisible, especially for those looking on from a distance.


Tan, S. (2016). Digital Burgerdetectives.