User-generated video ensures moments in history cannot be censored

In 2019, Hong Kong citizens took to the streets to protest a proposed bill by the Chinese government that would allow the authorities to extradite suspected criminals to mainland China.  The protest soon developed into a pro-democracy movement, as both national and international concerns were exacerbated by the erosion of freedoms in Hong Kong.  Over the course of the next 18 months millions of people took to the streets in a series of anti-government protests across the city.

No freedom of expression

During the protests the Chinese government attempted to control the narrative, arresting many journalists, shutting down Apple Daily, and criminalising politically sensitive filmmaking under the guise of protecting national security.

The Hong Kong government said the film censorship law was aimed at content deemed to "endorse, support, glorify, encourage and incite activities that might endanger national security."  Punishment for violating the law included up to three years imprisonment and fines of up to HK$1 million.

As the 3rd anniversary of the Hong Kong protests approaches, let’s applaud the brave filmers who captured the moment and used user-generated video (UGV) to share their stories and experiences, and ensure global audiences understood what happened.

How UGV is continuing to tell the story of Hong Kong (1)-Jan-20-2022-04-34-13-31-PM

UGV provided news organisations with real-time access to the action as it unfolded on the streets of Hong Kong – from anti-extradition protests, police clashes and brutality, to flash mobs singing in unison ‘Glory to Hong Kong’.  Real moments telling the story of Hong Kong and its people through once-in-a-lifetime footage, ensuring audiences all over the world could form a better understanding of the truth, despite the impact of censorship.  

Now as we approach the anniversary of this milestone event in pro-democratic history, UGV is helping documentary and factual producers reconstruct the event through multiple viewpoints, and perhaps even provides an opportunity to shine a light on under-reported aspects of the story or bring previously unreported first-hand accounts to audiences.  

Take, for example, Newsflare’s customer, South China Morning Post’s video series entitled China’s Rebel City, a multi-award-winning no-holds-barred account of social chaos that pushed the city to the brink.    

TV producers take note - this demonstrates how the publishing industry is investing more in video, experimenting with new ways to tell stories, and create immersive experiences for growing online audiences.

Producing the story of Hong Kong with UGV

If you’re seeking to pitch or are currently in production for a documentary show/film about the Hong Kong protests, or indeed any monumental moment in history, then get in touch with Newsflare and we will help you uncover the new, timely, unexpected, disruptive and unique content that you need.


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