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The use of drones in journalism

Wednesday 22 June 2016, by SIGNIS

Moldova, June, 22nd 2016 (Internews). Marjorie Rouse, from Internews, wrote a really interesting article on the use of drones by journalists. Using drones enables them to show things that are difficult to reach, or kept secret. But it appears that it is becoming illegal in some countries.

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Journalists at the training - Internews

For instance in Moldova, a team of journalists used drones to uncover secrets and to show the deep poverty of this small country. “The team of young reporters who produced the story has joined a small but growing cohort of journalists around the world who are using the bird’s eye perspective of drone-mounted cameras to challenge some of the globe’s most repressive regimes by revealing secrets from the sky”, can we read on her article.

Constantin Celac, one of the journalists of the team explained “I dream of using the power of journalism to send a message to the people who govern us, to make a difference. We were able to send a message to politicians that they should be more transparent with the money they spend, because this money belongs to all of us.”

If Celac and his team were able to use a drone, it is notably thanks to a training offered by the Independent Journalism Center, supported by Internews. “The training brought together 16 journalists and activists from the country’s independent news outlets for a two-day workshop in using drones to produce news. The workshop was led by journalists from Ukraine, where reporters have documented anti-government protests with drones, and photographers and entrepreneurs from Romania whose company is the first in that country to specialize in drone photography and filming.”

The Internews project in Moldova builds on years of efforts to foster independent journalism across the former Soviet republics. Drones are one of the latest technologies embraced by journalists around the world, in order to better inform the public.

Since 2010, when spectacular video of a riot in Warsaw, Poland by a semi-professional cameraman using a RoboKopter drone went viral on YouTube, journalists from every part of the world have increasingly used aerial photography, videography and airborne sensors to document environmental devastation, monitor pollutants emanating from dumps and cover natural and man-made disasters.

But drone journalism is facing growing regulation, notably in the US. “Critics argue that the unmanned aerial cameras could be used for overly invasive purposes and could fray the ethical and legal guidelines that journalists have worked under for decades.” In Afghanistan, authorities have banned media companies from using drone cameras.

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