Verifying Information in Challenging Environments for Citizen Monitors

If the information you received is paired with a picture or video as evidence, you will need to analyze the picture and/or video by asking the 5Ws + 1H.

  • Who is in the picture/video?
  • What is happening in the picture/video? What is the context and dynamics of the actual information?
  • Where was the picture/video taken?
  • When was the picture/video taken?
  • Why did these events take place? Why were these events/people motivated?
  • How did events escalate?


When verifying a picture, look for signs and indicators of where it might have been taken. Look carefully at objects and images in the background. If you can verify the location through clues in the picture you should cross-reference the location with other pictures to check your findings. A good resource to verify a location is Google Maps.

Another way to verify the location in a picture is by looking at the way people are dressed. A particular uniform, outfit or costume can identify a particular region or city as well as help identify the parties involved. However, if the wardrobe is inconsistent with the reported location or a particular person or group, this can be an indicator that the picture, and therefore your information, is not correct.


Similar to analyzing a picture, look for key identifiers to help verify the location of a video (i.e. buildings, signs, parks, etc.) However, a key advantage a video might have over a picture is sound. Sounds can help you connect to a certain place. Listen for the tone of voice, background noises and certain languages and dialects. These things can be extremely helpful when verifying the location and the parties involved.