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NGOs and self-organized groups increasingly use data circulating on social media and online devices for evidence production while researching conflicts and human rights violations. This project investigates the epistemological and participative practices in Open Source Investigations in the context of Russia’s war on Ukraine. Theoretically it reflects upon the role of ‘data publics’ in transforming social media data into public evidence. The main question is: How do data publics transform social media data into public evidence? Inspired by feminist perspectives, we critically assess how much is done ‘online’ (and remotely), evaluate whether reporters at the ‘information front’ are acknowledged, take into account the specificities of local journalistic cultures and the needs of people on the ground. The study traces the emergence of a global public (sub)culture of digital investigations and its incorporation of an ethics of care. The project contributes to ongoing debates about responsible online investigations.

The Team

Lonneke van der Velden is Assistant Professor Global Digital Cultures and lecturer at the Media Studies department at the University of Amsterdam (UvA).

Olga Burlyuk is Assistant Professor of Europe’s external relations at the Department of Political Science and affiliate of the Amsterdam Center for European Studies at the University of Amsterdam (UvA).

Guillén Torres Sepulveda is a PhD researcher and lecturer at the University of Amsterdam interested in how data and information structure power asymmetries between different actors.

Johana Kotisova works as Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the University of Amsterdam. Her interests include crisis and conflict reporting, newsworkers’ emotional labor, and creative methods.