In light of the worldwide spotlight on the non-profit organization Invisible Children and its viral YouTube video Kony 2012, Al Jazeera English has launched "Uganda Speaks," an initiative to track down the voices of the people who have largely been missing from the debates regarding the viral video and its organizers. Namely, Ugandans themselves.
The Uganda Speaks campaign, first tweeted by Al Jazeera English early Tuesday morning, asks for the following:
[More from Mashable: ‘KONY 2012′ Tops 100 Million Views, Becomes the Most Viral Video in History [STUDY]]
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) March 13, 2012
[More from Mashable: KONY 2012 May Be Flawed, But Slacktivism Isn’t the Enemy]
Al Jazeera's online platform for Uganda Speaks features an interactive map showing the different locations where views are filtering in from, as well as highlights the crowd-sourced, time-stamped views — cited as "reports" — on a stream.
At the time of writing, the majority of reports were coming from Kampala, the largest city and capital of Uganda. "It is now too little too late," "Skeptical about Kony 2012," "African Forces Should Stop Kony" and "Hysteria" were just some of the headlines on the stream.
One report featured on the Uganda Speaks site, "A Ugandan: Reacting to Kony2012," is an email submitted by Maureen Agena, who identifies herself as a "trained Citizen Journalist in Uganda." In her email, she states the following:
There is a total disconnect between the invisible children and the community they claim to serve. Why make Kony famous? You cannot make a wrong person famous. Stop Kony, then what? In the video, they are advocating for a militaristic approach of getting Kony, through the help of the US army, they should have shown the possibility of having other channels open too because in trying to get Kony, lives of many might be lost. And these are children and relatives of people in Northern Uganda. Now that Kony is famous online(Twitter, facebook, youtube etc), what next? If he is not captured by 31st Dec what will happen? stopping Kony is beyond the comfort of our living rooms on twitter using our Ipads and iphones.
Another anonymous report, titled "Impressed," states, "I am very impressed with the way Ugandans have refused to take this misrepresentation lying down. #Kony2012 #UgandaSpeaks."
Alongside Ugandan journalist Rosebell Kagumir's YouTube video stating her response to Kony 2012, Al Jazeera's initiative is one of the few drawing attention to Ugandan opinions.
Meanwhile, Invisible Children released a video yesterday defending its organization and the Kony 2012 campaign.
What do you think of Uganda Speaks? Will the voices of Ugandans change the discourse regarding Kony 2012? Let us know in the comments.
This story originally published on Mashable here.