Africa

Kony 2012 activist group releases new video

  • 5 April 2012
  • From the section Africa
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US activist group Invisible Children has released a sequel to its video highlighting the activities of Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony.The first 30-minute film attracted some 100 million views online, but was criticised for simplifying the issue.

Thefollow-uphas been made without input from the group's co-founder, who suffered a mental breakdown following publicity generated by the film.

The film-makers pledged to include more context in the latest video.

The first film profiled Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army, a militia operating in several African countries which has kidnapped thousands of children, forcing girls to become sex slaves and boys to fight as child soldiers.

Some criticised the video for oversimplifying a complex issue. Uganda's Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi said that the video wrongly gave the impression that the country was still at war.

Titled Kony 2012: Beyond Famous, the new release begins with the huge media reaction to the initial release, highlighting the mainstream media coverage the video gained across the US.

But it quickly switches focus to Africa, with more voices from Uganda than were featured in the emotive first release.

That film struck a chord with a younger generation not often engaged with the traditional news agenda.

"This generation has responded to the call to make Joseph Kony famous," the group said, promising to take the "next step" on 20 April.

"Part II gives a closer look at the Lord's Resistance Army, the international efforts to stop them, the progress that has already been made, and what we can all do to help," the group said.

New news

Some US senators claimed to have been alerted to the problem by their children amid the popularity of the first release.

"All three of my kids, in different context and different times have said: 'So what are you doing about Joseph Kony and the LRA?"' Senator Chris Coons told the Associated Press.

Mr Coons is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations African affairs sub-committee. He has travelled to Africa to hear about the issue firsthand.

A recent report from the US Pew Research centre concluded that the first film represented a new way for young people consume news.

Joseph Kony, leader of LRA
Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army is no longer active in Uganda

It found that 40% of 18-29 year-olds had heard about the video, compared with 20% of 30-49-year-olds and 18% of 50-64-year-olds.

The younger age group was also far more likely to have viewed the video. The majority had heard about it via social networks such as Twitter.

"The 30-minute video... provided striking evidence that young adults and their elders at times have different news agendas and learn about news in different ways," the report said.

Invisible Children's co-founder Jason Russell is currently in hospital after he was found semi-naked and screaming at traffic in the streets of San Diego.

He made himself the focus of the first film and came in for some heavy criticism from other advocacy groups and aid agencies.

Many criticised the Kony 2012 project for prescribing a "colonialist" approach to the issue of the LRA without empowering Africans to fix their own problems.

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