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What happened to Kony 2012?



Joseph Kony’s face was once plastered on the internet but the viral documentary failed to lead to his arrest

It was the documentary that broke the internet.

Click after click, and share after share, Joseph Kony quickly became a household name. 

But what happened next, was a fall from grace like no other, which sent the internet into overdrive once again.

At the start of 2012, much of the world had never heard of Joseph Kony. However, he was already on an international most wanted list for his crimes against humanity.

Human rights groups were among those who had him firmly in their sights. UNICEF believed he was responsible for displacing over 2.5 million people across Central Africa.

The International Criminal Court charged Kony with responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the forced enlistment of children as soldiers through abduction, and sexual enslavement.

His operation would come to the limelight on 5 March, 2012, when Jason Russell’s documentary, Kony 2012 comes to life.

Joseph Kony was the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army.

Russell was one of the co-founders of the charity organisation, Invisible Children.

He explains the conflict in simple terms to his son Gavin, who was five at the time.

“I’ve never really explained to him what I do. He knows I work in Africa but he doesn’t know what the war’s about, or who Joseph Kony is.”

Russell’s message was simple: make Joseph Kony a household name.

“The next 27 minutes are an experiment. But in order for it to work, you have to listen.

“If we succeed, we change the course of human history,” Russell said.

Justin Bieber and Oprah Winfrey were among the celebrities who pounced on finding the African war lord and bringing him to justice.

What happened next?

The documentary quickly became the most viral YouTube video of all time. It exploded to over 100 million views in six days.

“Before Kony 2012, the most viral video on the internet was Susan Boyle’s Britain’s Got Talent video,” said Emma Madden, who has recently written about the 10-year anniversary of the documentary.

“Virality was a new phenomenon and things that tended to go viral at this time were things that aroused emotions, which the Kony 2012 video did.”


The campaign asked people to like and share the documentary, and buy a $30 action kit, which included posters, t-shirts and stickers.

Madden said the video targeted younger people, and empowered them to use their voices to demand change.

“I was 17 when I saw this video, so I was the target audience. If I am talking to anyone else my age, there are common memories.”

In the documentary, Russell encourages viewers to continue the momentum by writing to their local government representatives, and covering their cities with posters.

It became known as the now-infamous ‘Cover the Night’ campaign, where “every city, on every block” would be covered with posters and stickers of Joseph Kony.

“That was a huge failure. There was really only a handful of people showing up in cities across the U.S. and Canada,” said Dr Johannes von Engelhardt from the University of Amsterdam.

Dr von Engelhardt has conducted research on audience perspectives of Kony 2012. He found the filmmakers mitigated a sense of personal moral responsibility to act towards the distant suffering of others.

“It was really every organisations worst nightmare. The fierceness and scale of the attack that was launched on Invisible Children was disastrous.”


The net proceeds from the Kony 2012 campaign amounted to approximately $12.6 million.

But as fast as the campaign took off, it quickly came crashing down.

Was Jason Russell running naked in the street?

Yes. One week after the documentary’s release, Jason Russell was filmed nude, and screaming profanities by TMZ.

“There were at the time rumours he was masturbating publicly, which was not true,” Dr von Engelhardt said.

“It shows how interesting the story was of seeing him collapse like that as a result of the attacks on the organisation, which were immense.”

Jason Russell is the man behind the Kony 2012 documentary.

The filmmaker was not arrested but was instead placed in psychiatric support.

Emma Madden said this was a turning point for the Kony 2012 movement.

“Jason has a breakdown within 10 days. That was quite a pivotal moment for the video, it’s response and its implosion.”


“10 years later, nobody knows who Kony is. They are more likely to remember Jason’s breakdown,” she said.

The dream of capturing Josef Kony had become as far and distant as the conflict itself.

“I think the word slacktivism was coined in this time—putting the word ‘slacker’ and ‘activism’ together—you can’t enforce change by just using Twitter,” Madden said.

Where is Joseph Kony?

The Lord’s Resistance Army remains active across Africa. Although, its members have dropped over time.

In 2017, Ugandan military forces abandoned their search efforts for Kony. Brigadier Richard Karemire, from the Uganda People’s Defense Force said he no longer posed a threat.

“As far as we are concerned, we’ve already achieved our mission,” he told the New York Times.

Invisible Children continues its work through a range of projects across central Africa.

“Most of what they do isn’t really on social media anymore. They’re working in Uganda, helping to build infrastructure,” Madden said.

Jason Russell declined an interview for this story. However, he has written a series of children’s books. Meanwhile, his son Gavin is in high school.

Joseph Kony, however, was never captured.

Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

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Top travel tips to avoid jet lag



These travel tips will help you reduce jet lag the next time you travel abroad

We all love a holiday but, unfortunately, when you’re travelling long distances it often comes with a side of jet leg.

So what causes it and are there any ways to avoid that drowsy feeling?

After years of lockdowns and travel restrictions, people are finally back in the skies and venturing to destinations right around the world.

The term “jet lag” describes the physical and cognitive symptoms people experience when traveling quickly across several timezones.

Before you leave, you’re synchronised to your local time and once you enter a new timezone, your body’s rhythms are thrown out of whack.

The experience of jet lag varies between people because we all have our own internal rhythm.

Most have a natural daily cycle of about 24.2 hours.

But some people have slightly longer cycles than others, and this could play a role in how a person experiences jet lag.

Research shows if you have a longer cycle you might adjust quicker to westward travel.

We also get a little less resilient as we age, so the older you are, the worse the jet lag may be.

So does the direction of travel matter? Scientists think so.

Many people find westward travel easier. This is when you, essentially, gain time.

But that’s not always possible – so here are some tips to help you through the pain, or even avoid it, in the first place:

1. If you’re trying to shift your body clock, you should start on the plane. Do this by setting your watch to your destination’s timezone and line up your activities, like sleep and meals, accordingly.

2. Next, keep your caffeine and alcohol intake low on the journey to help aid both sleep and hydration.

3. When you arrive, try your absolute best to sleep during the local night time and rest during the day as needed.

4. You can take a nap – but make sure it’s 30 minutes or less.

5. If you’re prone to or experience tummy trouble while traveling, stick to small meals and only eat when you’re hungry.

6. Finally, you should also expose yourself to sunlight throughout the day when adjusting to your new timezone.

Happy travelling! #trending #featured

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Young people join protest in France against pension reforms



Young people are taking to the streets in France as Macron pushes ahead with raising nation’s retirement age

Huge crowds have gathered in France in recent weeks to protest a controversial rise in the country’s pension age by two years to 64.

Some of the marches have turned violent.

While the reform is most relevant to those approaching retirement, many young people are also taking to the streets.

But why might that be?

The French youth have joined the protests in growing numbers since the government bypassed parliament to push the plans through.

Every night for the past few weeks, 18-year-old Charles Chauliac has been making his voice heard. Not just for his parents, but for himself.

“I am against this reform simply because I have two parents who are killing themselves at work and damaging their health and I don’t want to see them die at work. My father, he works every day, he gets up to get on the tarmac at Charles de Gaulle airport at 5 a.m. to load the planes. I find it difficult to imagine myself at 64 getting up at 3 a.m.”

Chauliac is part of groups started by university students to organize unauthorized demonstrations, which are usually carried out in the evenings.

While a few protesters have been seen torching bins and throwing rocks at police, Chauliac insists he hasn’t.

Opinion polls show a wide majority of voters are opposed to the pension bill.

They are further angered by Macron’s leadership style and the government’s decision to skip the parliamentary vote.

“For young people like me, we grew up with the hope of being able to influence our society. And when we see that decisions are made without consulting the people who make up this society, that takes away the possibility of being able to change things.”

Many students, like Chauliac, have been joining private groups on social media which help students mobilize for spontaneous protests.

He says they help prevent the groups being noticed by police.

But does Chauliac worry about the repercussions, should the demonstrations get out of hand?

“I wonder about that, because I know what can happen to us too, we see the images and we see what happens to fellow protesters, but that wouldn’t prevent me from demonstrating, because I’m so outraged that it surpasses potentially endangering myself.”

Macron recently said he would press ahead with the reforms.

Unions have called for regional action, and the continuation of nationwide strikes and protests. #trending #featured

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Facial recognition has been used a million times by U.S. police



Controversial facial recognition has been used a million times by police to help track criminals

As facial recognition becomes more prominent, the founder of tech firm Clearview says his company has run nearly a million searches for U.S. police.

It’s also been revealed the company has scraped 30 billion images from platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, taken without users’ permissions.

The company has been fined numerous times in Europe and countries like Australia for breaches of privacy laws.

In the U.S., critics say the use of Clearview by authorities puts everyone into a “police line-up”.

The company’s high-tech system allows law enforcement to upload a photo of a face and find matches in a database comprising of billions of images it has collected.

It then provides links to where matching images appear online.

The tool is considered to be one of the world’s most powerful and accurate.

While the company is banned from selling its services to most U.S. companies, there is an exemption for police. #trending #featured

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