New Media Advocacy Project

The New Media Advocacy Project (N-Map) combines legal expertise with cutting edge communication tools to strengthen human rights and social justice work.  We help advocates throughout the world tell their stories in more compelling and powerful ways—to tip the balance in the toughest cases and campaigns.

Human rights advocates and social entrepreneurs face enormous challenges:  deeply entrenched social issues, over-resourced opponents and competitors, as well as hostile or risk-averse courts, legislatures, and funders.  This equation means the usual tools are not enough.  N-Map uses advocates' greatest tool—their stories—to help meet those challenges. Our innovative mix of legal and media knowledge helps to bring those stories to life, and to use them effectively in courtrooms, legislatures, and communities.

 

See some recent examples of our work below, and contact us to learn more about what we do.

Navigating Consumer Debt Court

    Consumer debt lawsuits present enormous due process challenges for New York City’s civil courts. In 2008, debt collection agencies filed over 300,000 lawsuits and although filings decreased in recent years, the annual caseload still remains in the six-figure range. Low-income individuals make up the majority of these defendants and few can afford lawyers—in fact, only two percent retain legal counsel. Since most defendants enter the courtroom alone and uninformed, usually one obstacle prevents pro-se litigants from protecting their rights: knowledge.
    To increase the accessibility of legal information we created a series of interactive, rights-education videos to help New Yorkers sued for consumer debt. The example here—one of eleven videos—teaches defendants how to file an answer; normally, a convoluted set of instructions. Yet engaging animation helped us translate the dense legal information surrounding consumer law into a series of digestible, modular videos—increasing pro-se litigants’ ability to access legal information and consequently justice.

Truth & Justice for Guatemala

     In 2013, a Guatemalan court convicted former military leader, General Jose Efraín Ríos Montt, of crimes against humanity and genocide. The court found Ríos Montt responsible for a series of massacres, rapes, and the forced displacement of the Maya-Ixil ethnic group during his 17-month rule between 1982 and 1983. Securing this conviction was no easy task: our partner, Women’s Link Worldwide, used an innovative strategy that effectively incorporated gender crimes as a basis for proving genocide. Our film tells the story of the inclusion of women—most importantly the women of the Maya-Ixil community—in this landmark genocide trial.  
     The goal of this film is to document how advocates, attorneys, and victims came together to push for transitional justice in Guatemala. Although Guatemala’s highest court later overturned the Ríos Montt conviction, our documentary preserves a model for how courts across the globe can use similar strategies to ensure the inclusion of women in justice processes.
 

Solving Due Process Crisis In NYC’s Courts

  Consumer debt lawsuits present enormous due process challenges for New York City’s civil courts. In 2008, debt collection agencies filed over 300,000 lawsuits and although filings decreased in recent years, the annual caseload still remains in the six-figure range. Low-income individuals make up the majority of these defendants and few can afford lawyers—in fact, only two percent retain legal counsel. Since most defendants enter the courtroom alone and uninformed, usually one obstacle prevents pro-se litigants from protecting their rights: knowledge. 
   This documentary helps our partner—the Civil Legal Advice and Resource Office—explain the problem to stakeholders and policy makers and show the human impact of this due process crisis on New Yorkers. The video is now used to support advocacy in New York and Albany to improve access to justice in these cases.