Staff Blog

New Papuan films on EngageMedia

The Secretariat For Justice and Peace of Merauke Diocese (SKP-KAM) is an organization of Catholic Church Archdiocese in Merauke, Papua. The group is focused on law enforcement, human rights and the environment. Through their three videos (more to come), hopefully viewers will get a taste to see the issues faced by people in the southern side of West Papua.


With poverty and lack of support from local governments, kids in Merauke struggle to finish schools. The film also seeks supports from parents to help their children.


This documentary raises local government policy issues and the ecological damage to the water catchment lakes used for clean water source by both villagers of Kanume as well as Merauke city folks)


The documentary explains the multidimensional impacts of the gaharu trade on the environment and indigenous Auwyu dan Wiyaghar, in Assue District, Mappi, in the South of Papua Province. The film then explores the new hopes that emerged with the deployment of a government fact finding team to resolve the issues, which produced some solutions, suggestions, and reduced disagreement.

Staff Blog

Videochronic Launch & Discussion in Jakarta

More than 50 people turned up for the Videochronic launch and discussion at the Ruang Rupa office in Tebet, South Jakarta, on March 24, 2010. The event was filled with video activism chats led by a panel of speakers that included filmmakers, researchers, a journalist and an academic. The audience was also a mixed of filmmakers, activists, students, and visual artists. The room was spacious, hot, but the wall paints cooled off the audience.

The discussions tried to answer questions around how Indonesian video activists distribute their videos, the limitations, how people have succeed and failed in using internet distribution methods, what the future will bring to internet video distribution and networking among video activists.

The speakers on that evening were the Videochronic writers and researchers Nuraini Juliastuti and Ferdiansyah Thajib of KUNCI Cultural Studies Center (Yogyakarta), longtime visual artist Hafiz, also the founders of Ruang Rupa and Forum Lenteng, journalist Raharja Waluya Jati of the Voice of Human Rights, film producer Vivian Indris of Kalayana Shira, and academic Irsyad Ridho of the State University of Jakarta (UNJ).

As a host, Hafiz, representing Ruang Rupa, commended the book which pictured the video activism scene in Indoensia since the ‘reformasi’ era more than a decade ago. He applauded the effort made by EngageMedia in putting forward the roles of various groups in the process of writing the book.

The Kunci duo kicked of the discussion. Ferdiansyah Thajib, or Ferdi as he is often called, told the story of meeting Andrew Lowenthal of EngageMedia in 2008 to chat about the development of video activism in Indonesia.

“Andrew wondered why online video distrinbution was still very limited in Indonesia, and we all realised that there hasn’t been much research on the subject of video activism production and decided KUNCI and EngageMedia should start such study,” said Ferdi.

The research process took around three months, and in doing so KUNCI interviewed a total of 23 related groups in Java and Bali. The research also led to the classification of the video activist groups – experimental, grassroot, and tachtical. Ferdi said that while most video activists saw online distribution as a strategic method, it also carried various challenges, including internal human resources within groups, harmonisation amomng activists, and lack of technological facilities.

Ferdi’s writing and researching partner, Nuraini Juliastuti, or Nuning as she is called, recalled that during the Videochronic launch in Yogyakarta, November last year, there was a criticism made to KUNCI for its methodology in questioning sources wether “online video distribution is necesary or not”. The critic argued that such question could not cover the base of the issue.

“We found that there are still many activist who did not see the use of videos for media campaigns. We also found that there are also frictions among groups on the use of videos,” said Nuning. “Sometimes groups would upload similar videos for a common cause, but other times they are in opposition and competing. With that, the approach to get groups to work togerther should also vary.”

Nuning also saw vast differences between groups that focus on arts and culture, with those focusing on political issues. Nevertheless, online districution can also act as a meeting point for those different groups, however it can also create issues regarding licensing and the need for self indentities.

Nuning said some groups also saw some groups were careful in their approach to technology. She said they were not against it, but simply choosing what was required in making social changes.

“For further research, we need to answer what kind of changes have been made by video activism work, and how those impacts can be viewed from the audience level as well as the general public,” said Nuning.

Longtime EngageMedia friend Hafiz followed the discussion by commenting on the group classifications. He said most video activists were not be aware of those.

“Most community videos are reflections of their groups,” said Hafiz. “However online distribution is a big problem for those in remote areas with minimum technology. Of course it’s a big difference with the urban groups where technological support is sufficient.”

“The good thing about the group classification is that groups can look at their characteristic and others to see similarities and patterns to build a network,” he said.

Hafiz also found the government has developed good appretiation of the new media by integrating video technology in several schools and educational institutions. He said the technological awareness impoved drastically since the reformed era. The Department of Education and Culture has also established the Documentation Division to support such purpose. Hafiz said the development should very well develop further and enrich the video activism world in the future.

Raharja Waluya Jati, or Jati, said he is more of a radio person than a video activist. He said although it the book is very useful, it has not dwelved much about the commmunity and bureaucracy aspects. He said if we want to reach a community we need to know what the community is interested in.

In the case of Voice of Human Rights which extensively use community radio network, Jati said the communities have all accepted the radio medium, and therefore their operations became much more useful and smoother.

“Community radio is already an integgral part of the communities themselves,” said Jati.

He said although online distribution relies heavily on the internet, poeple should not use lack of connection as an excuse. There are ways to work together with other groups though networking, as long as people understand each other’s roles.

“We should approach groups with respect and humility. If we are too busy trying to be initiators, then we would be busy with our own internal conflicts all the time.”

Academic Irsyad Ridho agreed with the book’s conclusion that online distribution could not be defined a dichotomy of offline. In a similar context, Irsyad compares it with on school and off school education. He most of video activism work in Indonesia is comaparable to informal education.

“I want to bridge this formal and informal educational state,” said Irsyad. “We need to break the dichotomy. We need to make our classrooms a public space. The question is how social video activism can facilitate and mediate a subject, in this case the teachers. When a teacher comes into a class, it is not an intrumentalistic relation between human beings. Most teachers only care about the curriculumns and rarely see the students in an educational process. Therefore videos should go in as curiculumn also, as a software for educational and social change.”

The last pannelist was Vivian Idris. She is the Program Director for Kalyana Shira Foundation, a non profit organisation that focuses on empowerment of women, marginal groups, gay, lesbians and transgender, through the means of videos and films.

“Most of the problems we found with online distribution is related to the durations of our films,” she said. “The shortest Kalyana Shira films are 24 minutes. With the bad internet infrastructure in Indonesia, it often becomes expensive and problematic.”

Traditionally speaking, Vivian said people are more familiar with offline methods. Therefore Kalyana Shira prefers that for the initial approach so that they can record directly people’s response and appretiations. Vivian said she would see online distribution as a complementary for the offline distribution at this moment.

“One example we did is we would sell our “At Stake” DVDs and screen them in theatres for several months, then, later on, we put them online for wider and free viewing. All the “At Stake” films are now available for downloads on EngageMedia.”

All in all, the launch and discussion was well received. As the night closes, Fendry of the Independent Videomakers Network (JAVIN) still wondered out loud how video activists can work together. A hard task, but at least we were all in one room and talking about it – that’s a good start!

Staff Blog

Yogyakarta Video Archives Camp

The archive project involves working with four Indonesian based arts/activist organisations; Combine Resource Institution, Kampung Halaman, and the Indonesian Visual Art Archive to set up these in-house offline archives. [Read background blog post]

A key focus of the camp will be upgrading the four archives to latest release of Plumi 3.0, as well as running various workshops with local technologists to enhance their ability to customise of the platform. Additionally we’ll be strategising and sharing tactics around how most effectively to meld on and offline archiving and content distribution, particularly in contexts where bandwidth is limited.

Staff Blog

Engagemedia Distribution Workshop (Makassar)

Independent video makers everywhere often wonder what to do with the videos they produce. You can send it to some film festival but is it reaching your audience? Do you print 100 copies and pass it to friends? Do you put it on some shelves and hope people buy it? Do you upload it to YouTube and wait for someone to watch it? Is there an effective way to get your video out there into the path of your mass audience? Maybe you have to do a bit of everything.

We at Engagemedia would like to share with you how producers of critical films around the world are distributing their videos. EngageMedia is an online video sharing, free software and skills building initiative focused on social justice and environmental issues within the Asia-Pacific region.
Topics covered in the workshop will include:

  • building a digital video delivery strategy
  • the use of video and online technologies in campaigning work
  • introduction to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)
  • compressing video for publishing online
  • where to publish and how to use your online content in a website or blog
  • combining on and off-line distribution tools and techniques
  • use of Creative Commons and open content licensing, including finding media to use in your production

There are LIMITED spots available for this workshop. Cost of registration is Rp 50,000 for the 15 chosen workshop participants. If you are interested in attending please download and email the registration form to [email protected]
Spaces are limited to people who:

  • already make videos about social justice and environmental issues;
  • have a laptop they can bring to the training; and
  • are based in or around Makassar


  • Makassar, April 23-24, 2010 
deadline for submission of applications : April 15, 2010

Staff Blog

Indonesian Video Archive Camp – Looking for Ploneistas

From April 15-17 EngageMedia will be hosting a Plone based Video Archive Camp in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in collaboration with the Indonesian Visual Art Archive.

The three day camp will continue EngageMedia’s work of setting up 4 Plumi based offline video archives with a series of arts/activist partners based in Jakarta and Yogyakarta. [Read background blog post]

We have space at the camp for 2 additional volunteer Ploneistas. A key focus of the camp will be upgrading the four archives to Plumi 3.0, as well as running various workshops with local technologists to enhance their ability to customise of the platform. You’ll be working with EngageMedia and the crew from Unweb as regards the workshops. A more detailed breakdown of the event can be found in this pdf.

We can cover all food and accommodation in the lovely surrounds of central Java during the event if you are able to pay your way to Indonesia. If you are interested in attending please contact Andrew at [email protected] by March 15th.

Staff Blog

Online Video: Indonesian Activists Look Ahead

First published in Asian Currents. Written from the collaborative research done for Videochronic.

During the analog period of the 1980s and early 90s,
when video technology began thriving among Indonesia’s new middle
class, the authoritarian government took anticipative measures, such
as censorship and taxes on sales and screenings, to contain and
control video-related practices.

The experience of the 1998 political uprising showed
activists mobilising the power of video and the internet to effect
socio-political changes. Still fresh in public memory is footage of
the shootings of Trisakti University students in Jakarta, repeatedly
aired by every television station after the event and circulated
internationally within hours.

These images sparked sentiments of national
solidarity, leading to mass student protests in several cities across
Indonesia denouncing the New Order regime. At the same time, under
the umbrella of the anti-New Order movement, online communication
such as chat rooms and mailing lists flourished as organising spaces
and forums for discussion that could circumvent militaristic state

Post-Suharto Indonesia saw an increase in media
production and distribution, both commercial and non-profit. With
regional areas gaining more autonomy; increasing consumption of cable
television, computers, the internet and mobile phones; and growing
numbers of local stations, calls for information decentralisation and
democratisation became widespread.

From activist perspectives, these changes were
perceived as having the potential to foster participation and broaden
the social-change agenda through the autonomous production of
content. Video cameras were now small enough to carry around and
cheap enough to be a realistic purchase for both collectives and
individuals. Citizen media, Indonesia-style, had been unleashed.

The current state and future possibilities of
activist video distribution channels in the Indonesian context is a
complex web of multiple models. Even while they address the
challenges of off-line distribution methodologies, video activist
organisations such as Forum
, Kampung
, and EngageMedia
are simultaneously engaging with the possibilities of internet-based
distribution. Independent initiatives are burgeoning.

Whether the responsibility of distribution is
assumed by the video-makers themselves, supported by festivals,
screenings or exhibitions, based on commercial opportunities, or
developed through existing websites, the challenges are significant.

The problems of online distribution are inseparable
from debates about licensing, and are also linked to the challenges
of technological infrastructure and access.

But undeniably, in this period of rapid
technological development, the activists’ tools of video and
internet are converging. As the transition from off-line to online
distribution of video content occurs, several creative organisations,
such as the ones below, are showing remarkable initiative.


Formed in 2003, Forum Lenteng became committed to
engaging youth with experimental video techniques and developing
audio-visual research methods. Based in the outskirts of Jakarta,
Forum Lenteng works largely with communities located at the
peripheries of urban centres, such as Jakarta and Padang, to produce
video-based information about their lives and share it on the

The project of AkuMassa,
for example, encourages participants to embed their video in a
dedicated blog and to add comments and notes, generating discussion
of the issues raised. Such a platform places society as much more
than a subject or an audience, showcasing video stories from a range
of local contexts.

While Forum Lenteng emerged from Jakarta’s
contemporary art scene, for many projects the roles of artist and
activist coincide. Artists are seen as facilitators, and video art is
viewed as an opportunity to experiment with the distribution of
socio-political content as much as to play with the medium itself.


Formed in 2006, Kampung Halaman works
with youth living in’transitional districts’, areas located
between urban centers and/or undergoing dramatic socio-economic
changes. To address some of the issues these communities face, such
as limited access to infrastructure, unemployment and lack of
mobility, Kampung Halaman holds video-production workshops for
community members, provides technological tools and organises events,
using its website as a platform to ensure the results of such efforts
reach a public audience.Kampung Halaman also holds screenings in other
villages, often followed by public discussions about issues
highlighted in the videos. The videos produced by such communities
are understood as part of a process of self-empowerment through which
interaction and education can lead to social


EngageMedia originates in Australia but now also has
bases in Jakarta and Yogyakarta. The primary focus of its activities
is its video-sharing site. All videos on the site use Creative
Commons licensing to encourage downloading for off-line

A key goal of the organisation is to explore how
online distribution can work in low-bandwidth situations. EngageMedia
has set up a series of local archives using plumi,
an open source video-sharing platform. The archives run on a server
hosted locally in the organisation’s office, allowing rapid
uploading and downloading to the archive. Anyone on the local area
network can watch videos and easily copy them to USB sticks, DVDs and
CDs. This provides all the benefits of a database and digital storage
and the participating organisations can increase their technical
skills and become ’online ready’ as bandwidth improves.

Staff Blog

Video Distribution Workshop (Singapore)

Despite security concerns, 12 Singaporean activists and independent filmmakers dealing with various issues from migrant worker’s rights to civil and political rights gathered in a cosy room at the Singapore Council of Women’s Organizations (SCWO) to participate Engagemedia’s 2-day workshop on video distribution, June 27-28, 2010.

Facilitating the workshop over the course of the weekend were Mien Ly and Fahmi Reza, two well known filmmaker-activists from Malaysia. Due to the overarching climate of fear, complete lack of free media and the restrictions on the freedoms of speech and assembly in Singapore, the relation of social and political messages through the use of video and its distribution via the Internet has become a essential tool. However, there have been no organized attempts to improve the quality, effectiveness and reach of critical films.

Engagemedia’s initiative is the first of its kind in Singapore and this was one of the reasons for the enthusiasm of the local participants. After an ice-breaking game and a round of introductions, the participants went into the cosy workshop room to get an overview of Engagemedia’s work and the 2-day programme. The workshop proper began with a session getting everyone to outline what they want to gain and learn from the workshop, writing their expectations on meta-cards and sticking them on a wall to be reviewed at the end of their experience together.

Facilitator Mien Ly helped ease everyone into understanding social and political classes and prejudices with a session where participants lined up according to the levels of privilege and respect different kinds of individuals receive in society today.

For example, a transsexual hairdresser of minority ethnic background would have to stand further back in the line as compared to a heterosexual banker whose family was related to the ruling party. This session got everyone alert early in the morning because of the intense discussions on the social and political inequality of human beings based on their class, gender, ethnicity, education and sexual orientation.

After the engaging role playing session, the workshop got on to case studies related to effective critical video distribution.

Facilitator Fahmi Reza started by providing a comprehensive view of the strategy and measures taken by Annie Leonard, who produced the award-winning and world-renowned film The Story of Stuff. He went on to an intriguing presentation of the online (and offline) steps he took to promote and distribute his own film, Sepuluh Tahun Sebelum Merdeka (10 Years Before Independence).

While the participants agreed that both the case studies were inspiring, seeing an example closer to home in Reza’s film and even having the filmmaker present to discuss his strategy was a highlight for everyone. Time was also taken for a few more discussions after short preview screenings of critical and non-critical videos that have gained viral status worldwide.

The participants came back from lunch with a clearer understanding of the various methods of DIY (Do-It-Yourself) video distribution, which guided them right into the next session of breaking into groups and mapping out distribution strategies for their own films. Ideas expanding on the examples shown and fresh new ideas were listed by all the groups, which were presented and built on by both the participants and the facilitators.

With a variety plans (even including all kinds of guerrilla distribution tactics) displayed on all the walls of the room, day 1 of the workshop concluded with hopeful prospect Day 2 was the more hands-on, practical day of the workshop, where participants were to gain knowledge on the various technical and legal aspects related to online video distribution.

In the 1st session, facilitator Reza gave an introduction to Creative Commons (CC) licensing. Although having heard about CC licensing a few times before, this was the 1st time that many of the participants have had a concise understanding of the various kinds of licensing available, their legal legitimates and the world of opportunities that shared content can provide.

A presentation on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) followed, with facilitator Ly taking careful consideration to explain its related concepts and practices Compared to CC licensing, most of the participants have never heard of the term FOSS, despite having used a few FOSS programs before themselves. Common misconceptions and misinterpretations were cleared up, granting everyone the chance to become more welcoming to the FOSS movement and its ideals.

Ly seamlessly connected the sessions together and moved the group on to the next session on FOSS compression softwares, and their relation to video and audio codecs. Visual aids helped participants get a plain and simple view of what codecs are and how they work. Examples of the various video compression and conversion software available Although this session took slightly longer than expected to absorb due to it’s technical nature, the patience of the facilitator and input of participants in-the-know helped to make sure that everyone left with an honest understanding of the essentials of video codecs and compression.

While the participants left their videos converting, Reza led the final session of the workshop with a more detailed explanation on the purpose and function of Engagemedia and its website utility. The participants were shown how to register and use the website, and provided step-by-step instructions on how to upload and manage their content.

There was enthusiasm to view and learn from the vast collection of videos from all around the region which were already available on the website, and to contribute to it. After everyones user registration, two videos were uploaded successfully on-the-spot, and follow-up action was taken to remind the rest of participants to upload their videos onto the site within the following week.

After a round-up of everything that was learnt during the two days, the workshop concluded with reflections on the expectations posted on the walls, and an assessment by the participants and facilitators on the usefulness, effectiveness and ease-of-understanding of the workshop.

All the participants shared their appreciation at the facilitators for their patience and guidance during the course of both days, and thanked Engagemedia through Enrico Aditjondro for providing them with the enlightening experience. The 2-day workshop was a rare opportunity for Singaporean independent film makers and activists to gather and learn the various aspects of video distribution, especially online.

As Singapore becomes a more and more closed society with the enactment of more repressive laws restricting the availability of critical information and avenues for social justice, online video distribution is one of the last bastions of hope for citizen journalism, alternative media, NGO and activist initiatives.

The Engagemedia workshop has contributed greatly to helping local critical video producers gain a renewed sense of solidarity, a wealth of practical and technical knowledge, and a constructive plan of action to move ahead for the freedom of information in Singapore.

After the successful Engagemedia workshop, over 10 new Singaporean videos have been uploaded onto

Staff Blog

Peluncuran dan Diskusi Videokronik di Jakarta

Event details


March 24, 2010

11:00 PM to
03:00 AM


Ruang Rupa, Tebet Timur Dalam Raya, no.6 Jakarta Selatan 12820 INDONESIA

Contact Name

Contact Phone


Add event to calendar

Bagaimana cara aktivis sosial di Indonesia mengapropriasi perkembangan teknologi video dalam kerja-kerjanya? Bagaimana mereka melakukan distribusi yang strategis, terutama dalam penggunaan medium online? Bagaimana publik melihat muncul dan berkembangnya ‘new media’? Apakah peran media berbasis komunitas dalam penyebaran informasi?

Pertanyaan-pertanyaan diatas adalah hal-hal yang akan kami coba diskusikan dalam acara peluncuran “VideoKronik” di Jakarta, pukul 18.00 pada tanggal 24 Maret, 2010.

Pembicara-pembicara yang akan hadir meramaikan adalah:

• Nuraini Juliastuti & Ferdiansyah Thajib – keduanya adalah peneliti dan penulis Videokronik. Mereka bekerja di KUNCI Cultural Studies Center di Yogyakarta dimana Nuraini menjabat sebagai Direktur.

• Hafiz – seorang seniman visual arts, penulis, dan salah satu pendiri Ruang Rupa dan Forum Lenteng

• Raharja Waluya Jati – seorang aktivis, jurnalis dan saat ini menjabat sebagai Direktur Voice of Human Rights

• Vivian Indris – seorang produser film yang sangat berpengalaman dalam pelaksanaan berbagai festival film, dan terlibat dari awal kelahiran JIFFEST. Ia saat ini juga adalah Direktur Program Kalayana Shira.

• Irsyad Ridho – Direktur Riset Jakarta Center for Cultural Studies, dan dosen Literatur Indonesia di Universitas Negeri Jakarta (UNJ)

Videokronik adalah hasil dari penelitian kolaboratif EngageMedia dan KUNCI Cultural Studies Center. Riset ini memetakan bagaimana aktivis melibatkan dirinya dengan teknologi tersebut di konteks Indonesia, mengamati beragam isu yang muncul dari perkelindanan gerakan sosial dan teknologi di Indonesia, dan menelusuri potensi serta hambatan distribusi video di internet. Dengan menganalisis sejarah, memetakan situasi masa kini, dan melihat kemungkinannya di masa depan, kami berharap bahwa persoalan aktivisme video di Indonesia bisa dipahami secara lebih jelas agar proses baru untuk mengajukan pertanyaan-pertanyaan yang juga baru yang lebih penting dapat segera dimulai. Kami juga berharap bahwa Videokronik dapat menjadi panduan bagi mereka yang mau menelusuri kemungkinan-kemungkinan perubahan sosial dengan menggunakan media teknologi baru di banyak tempat, serta turut membantu mereka yang bergiat di Indonesia dalam merefleksikan kerja-kerja yang telah ditempuh hingga sekarang, dan menyikapi bentuk-bentuk baru yang sedang mengemuka.

More information about this event…