For the many active Iranian YouTube members, this was a sensational opportunity to finally contribute, participate and share in a non-political world community project through a medium they knew well. After all, it was the 2009 elections that inspired citizen filming in Iran, with YouTube serving as the main channel to the outside world. Clips of the brutality on the streets of Iran catapulted YouTube into newsrooms and signalled it as a potent news source.
It came as a slap in the face, then, to read the FAQ on the Life in a Day website: “Anyone over 13 years old can submit footage, except for residents and nationals of Iran, Syria, Cuba, Sudan, North Korea and Myanmar (Burma), and/or any other persons and entities restricted by US export controls and sanctions programmes.” The “story of a single day on earth … One world, 24 hours, 6 billion perspectives” is actively boycotting 1.5 billion of the 6 billion perspectives it pursues.
Wouldn’t it be great to have included these countries – to have seen something of daily life rather than the usual imagery? Surely that would have been more in step with the spirit of the project, especially given that most of the submissions will naturally end up on the cutting-room floor. Instead, this decision is meanspirited, hasty and compromises the integrity of a project intended to be truly universal, when it is in fact not open to all.