Gregory Shvedov calls on the audience and people around the world to stop being passive recipients of information and to start sharing stories themselves. In the age of social media, he believes everyone has the responsibility to distribute information and raise awareness. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube make it easy to bring human rights violations to the attention of many, so he suggests spending a mere half hour per week on the "freedom fight" to bring about change. By making even a small effort, we can begin harnessing social media as a powerful tool to combat violence, injustice, and oppression in our world.

About

Gregory Shvedov is an editor in chief of the 24/7 Internet news agency Caucasian Knot. It is covering events in each of the 20 regions of Russia’s North Caucasus, South Federal District and the independent South Caucasus. He and his staff work to ensure public access to reports on human rights violations in the Caucasus, a global hotspot of conflict.

Shvedov has also served as director of the information agency at Memorial, the pioneering Russian human rights group. Memorial is a movement that arose during the perestroika years of Soviet restructuring, with the task of kindling and preserving the social memory of political persecution under the Soviet Union. Memorial's reach extends over several regions in Russia, the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Latvia, and Georgia. Memorial is comprised of research, human rights, and education centers; and museums and libraries dedicated to uncovering the tragedies of the past. It also provides assistance to former victims of Soviet prison camps, collects information about current political prisoners, and fights ethnic discrimination. Memorial’s two main principles are the unconditional respect of human individuality, human life, and freedoms of fundamental human values; and the presentation of history as an unbroken whole, encompassing the past, present, and future.

Through Memorial, Shvedov has directed more than a dozen regional and interregional projects seeking to influence public opinion, including more than 60 discussions on the issue of Chechnya throughout Russia. He has overseen projects which introduced social marketing to human rights activists in several regions of Russia. Shvedov’s work is essential in a region still in the process of overcoming its Soviet past, as well as its current political turmoil.