Invisible Children responds to Kony 2012 video criticism

Joseph Kony, answering journalists' questions in Ri-Kwamba, southern Sudan, following a meeting with UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland. The UN Security Council on January 16, 2009 strongly condemned recent attacks by Ugandan rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan and urged them to disarm. The 15-member body noted that these attacks 'have resulted in over 500 dead and over 400 abducted, as well as the displacement of over 104,000 people.</p>

Joseph Kony, answering journalists' questions in Ri-Kwamba, southern Sudan, following a meeting with UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland. The UN Security Council on January 16, 2009 strongly condemned recent attacks by Ugandan rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan and urged them to disarm. The 15-member body noted that these attacks 'have resulted in over 500 dead and over 400 abducted, as well as the displacement of over 104,000 people.

Invisible Children has issued a statement to respond to criticism the organization sustained after its video Kony 2012 went viral yesterday.

According to their statement:

A few pieces written that are putting out false or mis-leading information about these efforts. This statement is our official response to some of these articles and is a source for accurate information about Invisible Children’s mission, financials and approach to stopping LRA violence.

Watch the Kony 2012 video here.

Both the Kony 2012 video and campaign were created by Invisible Children, which is a non-profit group that makes documentary films and has worked on drawing attention to the Ugandan rebel group's atrocities.

Read more about Invisible Children and its work on GlobalPost: Viral campaign "Kony 2012" set to take down war criminal

Critics of the organization have argued that Invisible Children doesn't spend enough of the money it raises on direct services.

Invisible Children, in its statement, clarifies that the groups has a three-pronged mission:

1.  Document and make the world aware of the LRA. This includes making documentary films and touring these films around the world so that they are seen for free by millions of people.

2.  Channeling the energy and awareness from informed viewers of IC films into large scale advocacy campaigns that have mobilized the international community to stop the LRA and protect civilians.

3. Operate programs on the ground in the LRA-affected areas to provide protection, rehabilitation and development assistance.

The group argues that it has spent roughly a third of its money on each goal.  "Some organizations focus exclusively on documenting human rights abuses, some focus exclusively on international advocacy or awareness, and some focus exclusively on, on-the-ground development. We do all three. At the same time. This comprehensive model is intentional and has shown to be very effective," founder Jacob Russel wrote in a statement released on Wednesday.  

More from GlobalPost: Kony 2012 video criticized for dumbing down conflict

The group has also been criticized for its low rating on charity monitor Charity Navigator, which gives the group 2 out of 4 stars for accountability and transparency, prompting concerns over how the not-for-profit spends its money.  According to its statement, Invisible Children explains that the low rating is "due primarily to the single fact that Invisible Children does not have 5 independent voting members on our board of directors--we currently have 4." It explains that it is currently interviewing for the board position.  

The statement also explains that Invisible Children encourages criticism of its campaign and actions.

 "We would like to encourage you, if you have critiques, to get specific: find facts, dig deeper, and we’ll gladly continue the conversation from there," they write.  "Let's focus on what matters, and what we DO agree on: Joseph Kony needs to be stopped. And when that happens, peace is the limit. This is the beautiful beginning of an ending that is just the beginning. We are defending tomorrow. And it’s hopeful."