In Depth

Kony 2012 campaign boss rejects 'slacktivist' tag in new video

Invisible Children claims it is running a transparent campaign, but is interest waning?

kony2012.jpg

THE campaign behind the viral Kony 2012 video, which caused a storm on the internet, has moved to counter criticism of its methods by releasing a second film defending itself.

The first video aimed to raise awareness of the unpleasant activities of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, who leads the Lord's Resistance Army, which is largely made up of kidnapped children. It has been watched more than 76 million times on YouTube since it was released last week.

But Invisible Children, the not-for-profit group behind it, has been accused of failing to give enough donor money to the people of Uganda, oversimplifying the issue and using emotional manipulation in the clip. There has also been anger in Uganda, where people say that Kony and the LRA no longer pose a threat and aid should be focused on rebuilding rather than retribution.

Supporters of the campaign in the West have been branded 'slacktivists': people who are happy to pledge support to a cause on the internet, but have little understanding of it and make no practical difference.

But Invisible Children's response, entitled Thank you, Kony 2012 Supporters and fronted by its CEO Ben Keesey (above), dismisses those claims.

"I can understand why a lot of people are wondering is this just some kind of slick, fly-by-night, slacktivist thing, when actually, it’s not at all, " he says. "It's actually connected to a really deep, thoughtful, very intentional and strategic campaign."

He also insisted the organisation was financially transparent and above board.

However, the group's riposte to its critics has not had quite the same impact as the original film, and only attracted 50,000 views in the 24 hours after it went up.

The campaign already shows signs of becoming yesterday's news, destined to be remembered more for the furore it whipped up than the cause it was promoting.

Satirical website Juice Rap News described the Kony 2012 video as "2012's first globe-consuming meme" and claimed that "never had a 27-minute video devoid of both cats and boobs ever achieved such virality".

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