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Armenia: Political prisoners freed, reported live via mobile

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It was for times such as this that I decided to follow the example of fellow Frontline Club blogger Guy Degen by getting myself a Nokia N82. After sitting at the Yerevan Opera uploading images taken with a Nikon DSLR, but  transferred to my phone's memory card so I could ftp them via free wi-fi at a cafe, I was wandering home past another park when a few hundred people standing around caught my attention.

When you see things like that in Armenia it usually means something political is happening -- and it was. Earlier in the day a Yerevan court had found four senior opposition figures guilty of organizing the 1 March 2008 post-election disturbances which left 10 people dead. 

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The Council of Europe and others, however, consider the case against the four men, including two MPs and a former foreign minister, to be politically motivated. After a year of international pressure an amnesty was announced last week and the still convicted men walked free. The former president and extra-parliamentary opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrossian was there to greet them. Nothing spectacular, but I managed to tweet a few pics and broadcast a short 20-second live mobile video from the scene via Qik. Meanwhile, Unzipped comments on the release of the men and RFE/RL has more details. There's also my roundup for Global Voices Online here.

Photo: former foreign minister Alexander Arzumanian (left) with former president and extra-parliamentary opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrossian (right), Yerevan, Republic of Armenia © Onnik Krikorian / Oneworld Multimedia

1 Comment

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Onnik Krikorian | June 25, 2009 1:25 PM | Reply

Talking of the use of mobile phones by professionals, the New York Times Lens blog has this interesting article:

Shawn Rocco, 37, is a professional photographer. He shoots a Motorola E815.

Yes, that’s a cellphone.

Not when he’s actually on assignment for The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., where he has worked full time since 2002, but in those situations when he doesn’t mind ceding some control to a medium that is idiosyncratic — to say the least — in exchange for the happy prize of serendipity; the image that doesn’t quite emerge as he planned and is therefore all that more meaningful.

“Serendipity is a very powerful thing,” Mr. Rocco said in a telephone interview this week. “I’m not a voyeur, but I like catching people in their own little world, without interrupting them.”

[...]

“It’s a way of preserving my artistic sanity,” Mr. Rocco said.link

Actually, the video at the end where Rocco can be seen photographing Obama with a DSLR before switching to a cellphone is funny. What impresses me is how Obama took it in his stride.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWym8q13-sw

Here in Armenia, those that have seen me at news events with DSLRs still are somewhat confused when they see me shoot on a phone, but most are getting used to it.

However, the way Rocco is shown to work is now pretty much how I do, doubling up between DSLR and mobile. Getting used to it, they may be, but I still can't help but think that I'm considered somewhat insane... ;-)

What do you think?