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Commercial? Yes
Type of site News
Launched January 2009 (2009-01)

Demotix is a citizen journalism website and photo agency.[1] Other examples of citizen journalism include Wikinews, sites and services such as CNN’s I-Report, and Merinews.[2] It enables freelance journalists and amateurs to share their user-generated content and photojournalism, and license them to the mainstream media. The website was launched in January 2009 by CEO Turi Munthe and COO Jonathan Tepper and is based in London, UK.[3] The objective of Demotix is to "rescue journalism" by connecting independent journalists with the traditional media.[1]



Demotix was founded with two principles in mind: freedom of speech and freedom to know.[1] Demotix defines its "freedom of speech" role as giving a "man and (often more importantly) woman on the street a voice. Whether they're in Azerbaijan or Zanzibar. A space where they can tell their stories, build communities, and get their news out to the world.[1]" Demotix defines its "freedom to know" role as participating in distributing information to an "under-funded mainstream media".[1] Demotix intends to build news communities, and source stories and news from every corner of the globe.[1]

The name Demotix comes from the Greek word demos or Δήμος, which refers to 'the people'. Demotic means 'of the people' and most commonly refers to language.[4]

Demotix works because of its links with major media buyers across the world.[1] Demotix is a for-profit site, acting as a broker between photo- and video-journalists and traditional newspapers, magazines, TV channels and websites.[5] Demotix has over 5600 members, in 120 countries, and relays the best of its content to over 100 news media companies daily from New York to Nepal.[1] Anyone who registers with Demotix can write a story. Users can remain anonymous if the country or environment they are working from is not safe.[1] Demotix sells non-exclusive rights for user-submitted photographs for anything between $50 and $3,000 USD.[1] Demotix also sells exclusive rights for whatever price it can get. Demotix reports some photographs and videos can be sold for $100,000s.[1] Users receive 50% of the money collected from each sale and retain the copyright.[1]

Demotix has been particularly successful at covering news the mainstream media cannot reach, and came to prominence with its user-generated reporting from the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict,[6][7] and its in-depth coverage of the G20 protests in London including an image of Ian Tomlinson who died at the event.[8][9]

Demotix has partnered with The Huffington Post,[10] The Daily Telegraph[11] and Le Monde[12] as well as Future TV[13] in Lebanon, the Himalayan Times[14] and elsewhere around the globe.

Demotix is supported by Gandi as a webhost, site designer Very Studios, and the Demotix logo was designed by Pentagram.[1]

Demotix won the Media Guardian Innovation Award for Independent Media 2009.[15]

Iran Elections

In June 2009, during protests over the disputed presidential election in Iran, the Iranian government imposed sanctions on all foreign media, preventing them from documenting the protests.[16] However, Demotix contributors, based in Iran, defied this media crackdown to upload hundreds of images onto the Demotix website illustrating the violent street-battles and civil unrest.[17] The strategy delivered in Iran, with Demotix offering pictures that can’t be matched by the mainstream media. The coverage was syndicated by a number of agencies such as Reuters, Agence France Presse, European Pressphoto Agency, The New York Times, the UK's The Daily Telegraph, El Pais and a range of other newspapers.

On Wednesday, June 17, Demotix reported one of its reporters had been arrested and his camera seized in Iran.[18] On Thursday, June 25, Demotix commissioning editor Andy Heath reported, "We've just heard that the Demotix contributor who was arrested last week by the Iranian police will not face further remember inquiries and has had his camera returned to him by officials."[19]

On Saturday, June 20, Demotix received some of the only photos of the violence in Tehran, where authorities were shown to use tear gas against protesters.[20] These images were licensed to a number of outlets, including US newspaper, The New York Times, the UK's The Daily Telegraph and Spain's, El Pais.

Henry Gates - A Citizen Journalism Exclusive

Images of Henry Gates' arrest on Demotix

In July 2009, a Demotix contributor uploaded a photo of Henry Louis Gates, a Harvard professor, at the point of his arrest for disorderly conduct.[21] This was the only image of Prof. Gates’ arrest in circulation and, as such, the photo became an important piece of evidence in the resulting debate.

The photograph was licensed by multiple major American news outlets including ABC, CNN, CBS and NBC, and in such newspapers as The New York Post, USA Today, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post and The Guardian in the UK.[22]

External links



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