USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace

Center of Innovation for Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, January 6 - 12, 2011

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

Media and Journalism

Katie Couric's Idea of a "Muslim Cosby Show" Might Not Be So Crazy After All
Katie Couric's recent comments recommending a "Muslim Cosby show" to combat anti-Muslim bigotry has been decried by some as a naïve, simplistic remedy for the festering sore of Islamophobia in America. However, research and common sense in fact suggest that authentic and accessible American Muslim narratives can emerge as popular, effective tools of cultural diplomacy in helping bridge the divides between Muslim Communities and the U.S.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Azeem Ibrahim, 1/11/11)
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EU President Hungary Says It's Prepared to Change Controversial Media Law
With anger mounting over its controversial media law, new EU president Hungary appears to have bowed to its critics, saying it will change the law if necessary. Speaking to a select group of foreign journalists in the Hungarian capital, Budapest, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said his government was willing to cooperate if the European Union deemed the law unacceptable in its current form.
See the full article (RFE/RL, Daisy Sindelar, 1/8/11)
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Former CIA Officer Indicted for Allegedly Helping Reporter
A former CIA officer was arrested Thursday on charges of illegally disclosing classified material and obstructing justice after authorities said he assisted a newspaper reporter and book author with information about highly classified covert operations. Jeffrey A. Sterling, who was terminated by the CIA after nearly nine years and who then sued alleging racial discrimination, was arrested in St. Louis.
See the full article (Los Angeles Times, Richard A. Serrano, 1/7/11)
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Bringing Down Saddam
On April 9, 2003, a group of Iraqis and US Marines toppled a statue of Saddam Hussein. For some, this signaled the liberation of a jubilant people. For others, it was a photo-op orchestrated by the US to suggest victory long before the fact. Journalist Peter Maass, suggests that neither of these accounts captures the truth.
See the full article (NPR, Peter Maass and Brooke Gladstone, 1/7/11)
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US Woman Arrested in Iran as Spy: Why the Story May Not Have Teeth
James Bond couldn't have done it better. Which is why an unconfirmed 007-style story about Iran arresting an American woman with a microphone hidden in her teeth is grabbing headlines. The confusing stories appeared to weaken the likelihood of another American arrested in Iran and accused of spying. But top Iranian officials have frequently accused the US and some European "enemies" of waging "psychological war" against the Islamic Republic, and are known to have used their own tools of propaganda in reply.
See the full article (Christian Science Monitor, Scott Peterson, 1/6/11)
Click to read "On the Issues: Iran," by USIP's Robin Wright.
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Internet and Social Media

The Digital Revolution Meets Diplomacy
The digital revolution is finally starting to penetrate that most traditional of organizations: the foreign ministry. Not surprisingly, given the pace of change in the digital world as a whole, the conduct of diplomacy is set to undergo a major evolution as these technologies shake up the status quo.
See the full article (ISN, Fergus Hanson, 1/11/11)
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Singapore Says Release of Documents by WikiLeaks 'Disastrous' for US Diplomacy
Singaporean officials must be more cautious in discussions with U.S. diplomats, the country's foreign affairs minister said Monday, calling the release of classified documents by WikiLeaks disastrous for American diplomacy. Singapore officials will be less open when speaking with U.S. diplomats for fear their conversations will be made public, Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo said in parliament.
See the full article (AP, Alex Kennedy, 1/10/11)
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US Wants Twitter Details of Wikileaks Activists
The US government has subpoenaed the social networking site Twitter for personal details of people connected to Wikileaks, court documents show. The US District Court in Virginia said it wanted information including user names, addresses, connection records, telephone numbers and payment details. Those named include Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and an Icelandic MP.
See the full article (BBC, 1/8/11)
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Amr Khaled Calls for Facebook Users to Fight Sectarianism
Amr Khaled, the influential Egyptian Muslim televangelist, called for an internet campaign against sectarian incitement after attacks targeting an Alexandria church in Egypt killed 23 and injured dozens on New Year's Eve. His website asked young Muslim and Christian youth to use social media venues such as Facebook and Twitter to mobilise against sectarian strife.
See the full article (Ahram, 1/8/11)
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Caught in the Net: Why Dictators Are Going Digital
The idea that the internet was fomenting revolution and promoting democracy in Iran was just the latest example of the widely held belief that communications technology, and the internet in particular, is inherently pro-democratic. In [The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom], Evgeny Morozov takes a stand against this "cyber-utopian" view, arguing that the internet can be just as effective at sustaining authoritarian regimes.
See the full article (Economist, 1/6/11)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"Leadership Development Program" - Peace Players International
PeacePlayers International (PPI) is a global nonprofit organization that uses the game of basketball to unite and educate young people and their communities. A couple weeks ago, PeacePlayers International - Northern Ireland (PPI-NI) offered a glimpse at the documentary currently being filmed and produced by former PPI-NI Program Director Will Maloney. This video introduces Darryl Petticrew, PPI-NI's Leadership Development Program Coordinator.
Visit PeaceMedia
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