Cairo Clashes: Confirming the Location and Content of a Video

This case study was originally published in Verification Hanbdook: A definitive guide to verifying digital content for emergency coverage

During the violent clashes in Cairo in August 2013 there was one particular YouTube video that received a lot of media attention. (The original video was subsequently removed from YouTube, but can also be viewed here.) The widely used description for this video, which for example appeared in the headline on a Washington Post blog post, was that protesters had pushed a police car off a bridge in Cairo.

Screenshot taken from washingtonpost.com
Screenshot taken from washingtonpost.com

Violent behavior displayed by protesters is, of course, relevant when investigating disproportionate use of force by the police, as we at Amnesty International do. We also work to verify video as part of determining whether human rights abuses have occurred. As a result, this video represented important footage that needed careful review.

What stood out from this video, in contrast to the description and resulting headline, was that at no time could the protesters be seen actually pushing the car off the bridge. It clearly required a closer look. Here’s what I did to assess the content of the video and determine the exact location of the incident:

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