Discover more from Sree's Sunday Note
What I learned in Oslo
Highlights from co-hosting the Nobel Peace Conference
🗞 @Sree’s #NYTReadalong: Our guest Sunday, Sept 10, is writer and politics expert Joan Walsh, whose new book is "Corporate Bullsh*t: Exposing the Lies and Half-Truths That Protect Profit, Power, and Wealth in America.” Watch live Sunday 8:30-10 am ET (1:30-3 pm GMT) on my social channels. You’ll find three years’ worth of archives at this link (we’ve been reading the paper aloud on social for 7+ years now!). The Readalong is sponsored by Muck Rack. Interested in sponsorship opportunities? Email email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
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A #LifeHighlight moment, co-hosting this year’s Nobel Peace Conference, turned into valuable lessons in what’s happening with human rights today. I was honored to serve as digital co-host of last week’s conference in Oslo, helping connect #HumanRightsHeros to a global audience who watched from dozens of countries. Since the summer of 2022, I’ve been on the board of Nobel Prize Outreach, and that’s another #LifeHighlight!
Because it’s hosted by the Nobel Peace Center (follow them on Twitter, IG, FB) and featured five Nobel Peace Prize laureates, I knew it would have a big online audience, but I wasn’t ready for the overwhelming number of questions and the deep engagement from our audience.
Below are the moving remarks by the five laureates and Natallia Pinchuk, the wife of jailed Belarussian activist Ales Bialiatski who won the Peace Prize last year. You can find more speaker clips on the Center’s YouTube channel, or watch all four hours here (worth it for the haunting opening song by Afghan singer Ghawgha Taban, a human rights hero herself). Read a full report by Per Eirik Gilsvik here.
I have also included text excerpts from the conference’s landmark Sunflower Declaration, which calls on democratic governments to “introduce a flexible, rapid response, temporary protective visa system for human rights defenders facing imminent danger,” among other opportunities for various entities to get involved. You can support it, too!
You will also find below clips of my interactions with the online audience and the speakers. And, since I’ve been writing so much about AI (here, here, here), I’ve also included an AI summary of one of my videos.
As Natallia Pinchuk spoke eloquently about the human rights crisis in Belarus, a haunting photo of her husband Ales Bialiatski in jail fills the #NobelPeaceConference. Ales, 2022 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and other #HumanRightsHeroes were the focus of the conference.
Here’s an excerpt from the Sunflower Declaration:
We Nobel Prize laureates, alongside civil society actors, experts, and others, call for urgent action to protect human rights defenders at risk on a coordinated, global scale. We call on:
Democratic Governments to:
Introduce a flexible, rapid response, temporary protective visa system for human rights defenders facing imminent danger. It should allow for multiple entries over a longer period of time, providing those in need the option to swiftly temporarily relocate with their family. States should increase transparency and consistency in the application and issuance process.
Develop a plan of action to seek the unconditional and immediate release of political prisoners, increase access to prisoners and information related to prisoners’ medical conditions and treatment, demand judicial accountability for crimes committed, and make these above-mentioned point conditions of bi-lateral and multilateral agreements.
Curb the practice of criminalizing and harassing human rights defenders through the use and abuse of law relating to freedom of expression, association, and assembly, the misuse of counter-terror and state security legislation to charge human rights defenders, and the application of onerous reporting and regulatory requirements to limit their effectiveness.
Combat transnational repression of human rights defenders in exile. Governments should train officials to recognize and respond to transnational repression, ensure that human rights defenders are protected from extradition requests, exempt them from sanctions targeting their home state, and enable them to continue their work.
Address digital information threats to human rights defenders by implementing the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize laureates’ 10-point plan.
Create or update official policies for how embassies and diplomatic staff can support human rights defenders including by recognizing their work, raising their cases with host authorities, monitoring and attending court proceedings, setting up secure communication channels, supporting access to relief programs, and ensuring structured follow up of guidelines implementation.
Multilateral Organizations, including the United Nations, the European Union, the Council of Europe, the Organization of American States, the African Union and The Association of Southeast Asian Nations to:
Encourage their member states to hold perpetrators to account through existing and new international legal mechanisms.
Make 1) monitoring abuses against human rights defenders; 2) release of political prisoners; and 3) obstruction of lawfare conditions of bi-lateral and multilateral agreements.
Introduce systems for safeguarding human rights defenders from transnational repression including extradition claims based on trumped up charges, an example of which is Interpol’s Red Notice system.
Businesses and investors (particularly high risk sectors for defenders, including mining, agribusiness, logging, and energy) to:
Adopt and comply with guidelines from OECD and UN on business and human rights and adopt a publicly facing, gender sensitive, human rights policy. The policy should make reference to the legitimate work of human rights defenders, commit to meaningful stakeholder engagement with them, strengthen due diligence processes, pledge zero tolerance for retaliation against defenders who expose human rights violations, and lay out mechanisms for accountability.
Refrain from engaging in Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation (SLAPPs) targeting human rights defenders, and publicly commit to doing so.
Donor organizations to:
Enable human rights defenders through rapid, flexible, stable, and accessible long-term funding, nuanced financial reporting requirements which protect defenders from lawfare, and greater investment in organizations working to provide holistic protection to human rights defenders at global, regional, and national level.
Cities and Universities to:
Establish “shelter cities” and “shelter study spaces” initiatives from which defenders can continue their work safely while processing their experiences and rebuilding physical and psychological strength.
I want to thank Kjersti Fløgstad, Executive Director of the Nobel Peace Center, and her team — including Ingvill Bryn Rambøl (conference host); Kim Reksten Grønneberg; Mette Bruaas; Thor-Kenneth Maarnes, among others — for this incredible front-row seat. And thanks also to my Digimentors team, Neil Parekh and Ryann Tracy, who were up before dawn Stateside to help amplify the event.
⚒️ NEWISH: Digimentors Tools Kit: People are always asking me for recommendations for gadgets, gizmos, websites, etc. So my Digimentors team has created a tools kit we will keep updating. Take a look!
DIGIMENTORS TECH TIP: Film Photography Makes a Comeback
By Robert S. Anthony
Each week, veteran tech journalist Bob Anthony shares a tech tip you don’t want to miss. Follow him @newyorkbob.
If so, you’re in luck. Analog photography is making a comeback.
There’s so much current enthusiasm for film that Ricoh, which owns the popular Pentax brand, has announced that it is working on a new, compact, non-interchangeable-lens Pentax film camera aimed at younger users. The unit is still under development, but will feature the same type of manually operated film-advance lever found on old film cameras—a feature Ricoh said is essential for the full throwback film-shooting experience.
The original Polaroid Corporation declared bankruptcy in 2001, but Polaroid-brand instant cameras are still being made, now by Polaroid BV, a 15-year-old Dutch corporation. The current Polaroid lineup includes the Polaroid Now and Now+ Generation 2 cameras and the budget Polaroid Go, all of which bear striking resemblances to the iconic 1977 Polaroid OneStep.
Polaroid’s website proudly declares, “Life, like Polaroid photography, is full of beautiful and uncontrollable color.” And to many analog photogs, that’s the whole point: They’re not interested in digital perfection, but in artistic expressions that exude a certain feeling or message.
That explains why stores like Brooklyn Film Camera do a brisk business in old, expired roll films since chances are high that the final color rendition won’t be perfect. BFC also stocks fresh film, offers film processing, sells vintage film cameras like the once-popular Pentax K1000 and specializes in bringing old Polaroid cameras back to life—right down to restoring their leather backings.
At its booth at the recent NY NOW Summer Market showcase in New York, Lomography, which once operated a popular storefront in New York’s Greenwich Village, showed off its new LomoApparat 35mm film camera, which features a 21mm wide-angle lens and an electronic flash which can be tinted with color filters for special effects. Lomagraphy’s Lomo’Instant Wide cameras generates instant 4.25-by-3.39-inch prints using Fujifilm’s Instax Wide 10-shot film packs. The cameras have built-in flashes and come with ultra-wide and close-up lens attachments.
The Kodak film camera brand is also alive in the form of licensed products like the new KODAK EKTAR H35N, an inexpensive half-frame 35mm film camera made by RETO Production Ltd. The new unit improves upon the 2022 Ektar H35 by incorporating a better lens, a tripod socket, a star filter for special effects and a long-exposure “bulb” mode. Half-frame cameras expose half of a 35mm frame at a time, thus turning a 24- or 36-shot 35mm roll of film into a 48- or 72-shot roll—at the expense of lower resolution.
If you just can’t go back to film but want that old film-camera look and feel, the Nikon Z fc mirrorless digital camera takes its leather-clad, knob-happy design cues from the 1982 Nikon FM2 35mm SLR film camera, but offers modern digital amenities. For example, there’s an ISO adjustment control on the top where the rewind knob of a film camera would be.
No, film photography isn’t about to knock smartphones and digital cameras off their finger-clicking thrones, but photogs who appreciate the unique color- and contrast-rendering qualities of film are finding growing support for their throwback hobbies.
For those looking to connect with other analog photogs, note that BFC, Lomography and others are sponsoring a Summer NYC Film Photo Gathering in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park on Sept. 23.