USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace

Center of Innovation for Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, January 13 - 19, 2011

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

Media and Journalism

Belarusian Journalist Sentenced For Participation In Protest
Belarusian journalist Barys Haretski has been sentenced by a Minsk court to 14 days in jail for taking part in post-election demonstrations on December 19, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports. Haretski was detained on January 17 near the KGB headquarters in Minsk while interviewing relatives of opposition activists and their supporters who were arrested in central Minsk on December 19-20 during protests following the contentious presidential election.
See the full article (RFE/RL. 1/18/11)
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The 'Problem' with Côte d'Ivoire: How the Media Misrepresent the Causes of Conflict
Much media coverage of conflict in the Ivory Coast relies on a familiar explanation of Africa's wars - that they stem from immutable tribal and sectarian differences. Despite religious and ethnic faultlines, conflict in the Ivory Coast is above all political.
See the full article (ISN, Patrick Meehan, 1/17/11)
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Watchdog Warns of Vietnam Media Clampdown
Vietnam will tighten state control of bloggers and other media with new regulations that enhance its already extensive powers to limit press freedoms, according to a watchdog. A decree signed by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung last week set out fines of up to 40 million dong (2,000 dollars) for offences including publishing information which is "non-authorised" or not in "the interests of the people".
See the full article (AFP, 1/14/11)
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Conducting Documentary Diplomacy
Kim A. Snyder's "Welcome to Shelbyville" is a melting-pot movie, a simmer with social issues: immigration, racism, unemployment, intolerance. Its examination of the clash between Somali Muslims and rural Tennesseans does not sugarcoat the kinds of conflicts that have bedeviled the country for centuries; it questions, in its way, what America means. And it's been shown around the world by the United States State Department.
See the full article (New York Times, John Anderson, 1/14/11) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
Click to read "Salam Shabab: Views and Voices of Iraqi Youth" a USIP Peace Brief by Theo Dolan and Alexis Toriello.
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Political Satire Iranian-American Style
A new Voice of America TV show has hit a nerve with Iranians inside and outside Iran. It's called "Parazit" (which means "static" in Persian) and it's a weekly half-hour of political satire often compared to "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." The show's host Kambiz Hosseini and executive producer Saman Arbabi say millions follow them online and they describe how political satire works when the butt of the jokes is an authoritarian government.
See the full article (NPR, Bob Garfield, Kambiz Hosseini and Salam Arababi, 1/14/11)
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Internet and Social Media

Iran Seeks to Boost Corps of Web Watchers
Iran's top police chief envisions a new beat for his forces: patrolling cyberspace. "There is no time to wait," Gen. Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam said last week. "We will have cyber police all over Iran." The first web watchdog squads are planned in Tehran this month - another step in Iran's rapidly expanding focus on the digital world as cyber warfare and online sleuthing take greater prominence with the Pentagon's new Cyber Command and the secrets spilled to WikiLeaks.
See the full article (AP, 1/19/11)
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Korea's OhmyNews: How Oppression Inspired Citizen Journalism
With its 65,000 contributors, the Korean news organisation OhmyNews is not just one of the biggest in the world but also one of the most established, having been launched back in 2000. The country's huge economic growth since 1961 was assisted by massive investment into technical infrastructure. At the same time, the regime cracked down on media freedom which saw 49 of the 64 daily newspapers available in 1961 close.
See the full article (Guardian, Sarah Hartley, 1/19/11)
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WikiLeaks Has Caused Little Lasting Damage, Says US State Department
The damage caused by the WikiLeaks controversy has caused little real and lasting damage to American diplomacy, senior state department officials have concluded. It emerged in private briefings to Congress by top diplomats that the fallout from the release of thousands of private diplomatic cables from all over the globe has not been especially bad.
See the full article (Guardian, Paul Harris, 1/19/11)
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Tunisia: A Media Led Revolution?
In light of the dramatic development of events, on a considerable scale, it has become evident that new media have been playing a key role this time around in keeping the momentum going, and bringing the voices of the disengaged Tunisian youth to the attention of world media, and hence to international public opinion. Such developments have proven very significant in changing the rules of the game, of journalism production and dissemination of information in a country where the government historically keeps tight control on the media.
See the full article (Aljazeera, Noureddine Miladi, 1/17/11)
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Thousands Of Iranians Join Online Protest Against Sanctions
About 25,000 Iranians have reacted to last week's crash of Iran Air flight 277 by joining an online protest against sanctions that prevent Iran from purchasing new aircraft and spare parts. The protesters believe sanctions undermine aviation safety standards and are therefore to be blamed for a string of air accidents that have claimed the lives of hundreds of Iranians.
See the full article (RFE/RL, Golnaz Esfandiari, 1/16/11)
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Is Al Qaeda's "Internet Generation" Their Most Dangerous?
The chief theorist of the Egyptian al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah (Egyptian Islamic Group or EIG), Dr. Najih Ibrahim, informed Asharq Al-Awsat that Al Qaeda's "internet generation" who draw on jihadist ideology via websites affiliated to the Al Qaeda organization are more dangerous than the previous generation of jihadists who are affiliated to Islamist groups and armed movements.
See the full article (Asharq Alawsat, Abdulsattar Hatitah, 1/15/11)
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Tunisia Protesters Use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to Help Organize and Report
Tunisia is in a state of unrest and protesters are using blogs, Facebook, Twitter, WikiLeaks documents, YouTube and other methods to mobilize themselves and report what is going on. Reports on how many people have died vary from at least three to as many as 20, and the weeks of demonstrations have been largely ignored by the majority of media outlets until recent days. As such, the Internet has been the largest source of documentation of the protests, much of it provided by the demonstrators themselves, despite Tunisia's strict censorship of the Web.
See the full article (Los Angeles Times, Nathan Olivarez-Giles, 1/14/11)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Children and Transitional Justice" on January 25 at 10:30am.
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"Israel Speaks Arabic" - is a unique and unprecedented initiative. Using Internet and video media, Avi Melamed, an Israeli Jew, the founder of Feenjan, addresses the Arab world in Arabic. Feenjan's goal is to add an Israeli - Jewish voice, in Arabic, to the narrative about Israel in the Arab world, to present the State of Israel from different perspectives in a balanced, objective way, and to create an online community of Israelis and Arabs that communicate with each other, thus contributing for more understanding and tolerance.
Visit PeaceMedia
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