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WITNESS, NEW PROGRAM ANNOUNCED TO HELP THE WORLDWIDE HUMAN RIGHTS MOVEMENT JOIN THE COMMUNICATIONS REVOLUTION

 WITNESS, NEW PROGRAM ANNOUNCED TO HELP THE WORLDWIDE HUMAN
 RIGHTS MOVEMENT JOIN THE COMMUNICATIONS REVOLUTION
 NEW YORK, March 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, the Reebok Foundation and musician Peter Gabriel announced Witness, a new program designed to arm the human rights movement worldwide with the weapons of mass communication, such as handheld video cameras, computers and fax machines.
 "Timely, accurate and impartial information is the most powerful weapon individuals and groups have to ensure that governments everywhere protect and promote the fundamental human rights of their citizens," said Michael Posner, executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights. "It's time for us, the human rights movement," continued Posner, "to better use the communications revolution to expose abuses and galvanize public opinion to stop them."
 According to Posner, Witness will not only distribute equipment and provide training to recipients, but will facilitate broad distribution of documentation and evidence generated by new communication techniques. Witness is consulting techniques. Witness is consulting broadly with international and local human rights, civil rights, development, environmental and other groups around the world to determine what is needed to strengthen ways to tell the truth about abuses to the global community. "One possible outcome of this effort will be to expand TV coverage of the human rights story," stated Posner, adding, "Our organization regularly issues written reports but TV needs pictures and words." He noted that, in addition, groups will have new and faster ways to communicate with each other, and the capability to create new support networks for research and action.
 Reebok International Ltd. has a sustained involvement with human rights. In 1988, Reebok established the Reebok Human Rights Award now in its fifth year, to honor individuals age 30 or under who have put their lives at risk to fight, to promote and to protect human rights. Young people from all over the world have received the award which includes a $25,000 contribution to the recipient's ongoing work. "The young men and women nominated and awarded the Reebok Human Rights Award inspire all of us at Reebok to do what we can as individuals and as a corporation," said Paul Fireman, chairman and CEO, Reebok International Ltd. "No one can win the human rights fight alone. We are not all guilty but we are all responsible. When Peter Gabriel, who serves as a member at the Reebok Human Rights Award board of advisors, asked us to help him find a way to supply video cameras to human rights workers, we knew we wanted to help."
 Gabriel stated that, having talked with many activists around the world, he had been shocked by how few accounts of abuses reached the media, especially television. "It is much easier for those in power to get away with murder, torture, repression and the destruction of our environment if their actions are not witnessed by the media. Technology transcends all borders. Information is power. We urgently need to get the technology in the right hands, the hands of those whose work for human and environmental rights can bring about real change."
 Gabriel warned that in many countries "cameras are more powerful than guns. Some governments might attempt to play 'hardball' with those who use this hardware to expose human rights abuses." Posner, Fireman and Gabriel strongly stated the safety of the activists using the equipment will be a prime concern for Witness, which will maintain an ongoing relationship with all participants.
 Fireman explained, "The Reebok Foundation has made a commitment to the creation of Witness to strengthen the international human rights movement." He strongly encouraged other corporations and foundations to join Witness and contribute equipment, expertise and money. To date, Witness has received additional financial contributions from Chiat/Day/Mojo and an anonymous donor.
 Sigourney Weaver, a member of the board of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, musician Branford Marsalis, and film directors Jonathan Demme and Mira Nair, have joined Witness. At the press conference, they announced the formation of an ad-hoc advisory committee which would include, among others, film directors Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee, and musician Michael Stipe. The committee will offer advice, experience and expertise to Witness.
 Since 1978, the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights has worked to promote and protect fundamental human rights. Its work is impartial, holding each government to the standards affirmed in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
 -0- 3/23/92
 /CONTACT: Mary Daly of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, 212-629-6170, or Bernadette Mansur of Reebok International, 617-341-5000/ CO: Reebok Foundation ST: Massachusetts IN: SU:


AH-CK -- NY035X -- 0580 03/23/92 12:41 EST
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Date:Mar 23, 1992
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