Pharos - Organization and Governance
Pharos will be built and organized around principles. It will have two bodies, the board of directors and the day-to-day team, to establish and implement these principles. The first will be responsible for formulating a clear statement of Pharos' principles and, in difficult or changing circumstances, interpreting how they should be applied. The implementation team will oversee the functioning of the site, protect the security of the data, and manage relations with other content publishers and users.
Alongside Pharos' formal organization, we envision a worldwide network that Pharos can promote active and appropriate submissions, as well as providing information to submitters about to do so securely. The network can also supply Pharos with the necessary contextual information to provide alongside the video. While Pharos does not want to reveal any information about the people in the video, it does want to provide information that will help explain where the event occurred, in what circumstances, and related to what underlying factors.
The Board of Directors
The Board of Directors will include a variety of professionals and experts with proven experience in human rights, freedom of expression, human security, and international relations. Like other mission driven organizations, we want to draw members from several different fields to ensure that the principles are written in a rich and thoughtful way. We envision some of the members may be human rights attorneys, former diplomats, professors, journalists, activists, and IT professionals.
Their initial task will be to draw up a clear mission statement and list of principles, upon which Pharos will accept, process, and distribute content. We envision that the mission statement will be 'To Promote Freedom of Expression and Protect Human Rights'. It should provide a clear, but general, vision of why Pharos exists.
The list of guiding principles will necessarily be more specific. These will determine which videos Pharos will process, publish, and distribute, and which it will not. Other organizations, like CNN's I-Reporter and Witness' The Hub, have formulated content policies that provide useful baselines for Pharos.
We envision Pharos' list may be similar. It may contain prohibitions against which types of content will not be allowed, unless justifiable to the message -- like on the grounds of extreme violence, cruelty to animals, or explicit sexuality. But because of Pharos' concern for human rights abuses, it must expect that many legitimate videos may include violence, foul language, and sexuality in the context of abuse. The Board will draw up a general rule upon which legitimate versus illegitimate content can be distinguished. Their public guidelines about submissions may resemble CNN I-Report's -- general and user-friendly -- but privately they can hold detailed discussions about particular videos that may walk the line between appropriate and obscene.
In its guiding principles, the Board must also spell out how to approach videos that have been sent anonymously and cannot be verified. Pharos' general policy is that it will accept any content sent to it, and will only publish content related to human rights. If the content arrives from an unknown source, Pharos must be concerned that it has been edited to misrepresent reality or is a lie outright. We recognize that there has been a history of forged abuses, including with videos of abuses that have been manufactured to give the appearance of an abuse when there has not been one. We are aware that competing groups, particularly in long-standing conflict, use allegations of human rights abuse as tools to promote their political agenda, rather than strictly to protect human rights principles. We do not want to be drawn into such abuse-competitions