While the live video streaming service may first come across as a neat way to share experiences live with your friends, Bambuser has become a serious tool used by activists to document and stream on-the-ground realities from nearly any phone with a internet connection. The service has played a large role in telling the world what has been happening in Syria during skirmishes and the bombing of Homs, as well as other areas where it has been difficult and dangerous for foreign journalists to get on site.
Perhaps the best proof that Bambuser has become a powerful tool has been governments’ response to their service. During the uprisings Bambuser has been blocked in Egypt and Syria, and recently the service was also hit by a DDOS attack from a known botnet. The company says the attack “was apparently aimed mainly at Russian citizen journalist users.”
To help extend the reach of these important videos, Bambuser now has an opt-in setting that allows activists and citizen journalists to provide content for the Associated Press. The option gives the news agency proper rights for usage of the content, and provides a direct line for journalists to reach out to people one the ground for more information.
The company estimates that roughly 10% of their active users could be considered citizen journalists, and now the company has announced they have decided to give away Bambuser premium status to activists and citizen journalists who apply. The premium status gives users an ad free player, unlimited viewing hours and storage, player customization options, and access to statistics and analytics about viewers of their video.
Several activists and citizen journalist over the last months have had this – as in the core team who broadcasts from inside Syria, some of the occupy movements folks around the world, as well as some Egyptian Human right activists and Russian activists.
As reasoning behind the move, a spokesperson for the Swedish company tells us, “We think it’s particularly important in terms of the context videos are viewed by a global audience. We don’t believe ads combined with protests, demos, war like situations are proper. We know ads is also an issue for the broadcaster as he/she wants the cleanest possible video out from. To us these people are important users and if we can help them to a better total experience in what they’re doing we’re very satisfied.”