We've seen how new technology has helped reporters get stories out of the Middle East before – Alex Crawford was able to set up a mobile satellite unit with a laptop and the power from a car's cigarette lighter.
Now the same thing is happening in Syria, though in this case it's many ordinary people uploading cell phone video.
Ustream, a video sharing site, has a channel called the Occupy Network (which also has its own site here). It isn't clear if it has any relation to the Occupy Movement that took over Zucotti Park in New York for two months (though that movement also has made use of mobile technologies and social networks). The channel has a number of videos from Syria, showing in one case, what looks like a street in Homs, Syria and a scene of injured people being carried away after an attack by the military.
Syria is in the middle of what amounts to a low-level civil war, with the military attacking protesters in several cities, and facing a "Free Syrian Army." The government has mounted military attacks in several cities around the country over the last several months, including Homs and Hama, and there have been bombings in other cities such as Aleppo.
Unlike Youtube, Ustream focuses on live content – much of it is streaming in real time, though that can vary according to the way users set up their channels.
The videos from Syria look like they might be from a smartphone or small camera. The videos' captions say they are from Homs, but it isn't clear from the images.
Suzanne Tran, head of marketing, confirmed that much of the video from Syria is coming from mobile devices, and that it is possible for the technical staff to confirm where they are coming from by their IP addresses, though they had not done so yet. That said, one of the things that Ustream has is an easy interface for uploading video quickly, and that makes it a natural home for people who want to get images out as fast as possible – and in places where it is important to bypass local governments.
Image: Wikimedia Commons