Controversial events #1 + #2: Telling an alternative truth to the official version of events using social media (aka citizen journalism).
Controversial death #1: A citizen journalist captured Ian Tomlinson shortly before his death on a cameraphone at the G20 summit. Tomlinson died moments after the video as he was struck by a batton and pushed to the ground by London Metroplitan police officer. But, Lewis says, “that wasn’t the story police officers wanted us to tell.They said Ian Tomlinson died of natural causes.”
And, so, the newspaper Tomlinson had being selling for 20 years, among other papers, wrote this story. Using social media, Lewis discovered enough evidence on Twitter to track down 20 witnesses. One citizen journalist filmed the scene right before Tomlinson’s death and emailed Lewis. This led to an inquest eventually convicting the police officer.
Controversial death #2: Jimmy Mubenga: Political refugee from angola
The British government decided to deport Mubenga to Angola. Mubenga died after losing consciousness on British Airways flight 77 to Angola, before the plane took off from the runway. The official explanation was “simply that he had become unwell on the flight, taken to hospital and died.” Lewis later discovered that, in fact, Mubenga died after three security guards tried to restrain him in his seat, as he was resisting deportation. The passengers on-board obviously witnessed the incident. But how was Lewis going to find them? Lewis posted stories asking questions about the incident. And, he used twitter and asked people to retweet. One man responded from an Angolan oil field. He tweeted, “I was also there on BA77 and the man was begging for help and I now feel so guilty I did nothing.” This man came forward and spoke out.