USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


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Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, June 9 - 15, 2011

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

African Village Uses Tech to Fight Off a Rape Cult
Invisible Children, a California-based aid group, in March traveled into Central African Republic to help Dutch group Interactive Radio for Justice upgrade the town's radio to a much longer-range model, boosting [Obo's] self-defense capability. Invisible Children's goal: to increase by 30 times the area the town could keep on alert, while also plugging Obo into a radio-based "early warning network."
See the full article (Wired, David Axe, 6/15/11)
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Lifting the Lid on Sri Lanka's War Crimes
Tamil footage - grotesque images of war crimes, execution and brutality by Sri Lankan armed forces - [was] recorded by the perpetrators themselves on mobile phones. We have been able to make that footage - along with many hours of even more disturbing images - into a film which might, belatedly, play a part in bringing the perpetrators of those crimes to justice.
See the full article (Guardian, Callum Macrae, 6/13/11)
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Radio Journalist Slain in Philippines
A radio broadcaster in the Philippines was shot dead while travelling to work on Monday in what press groups said was the fourth murder of a local journalist this year. The Philippines is one of the world's most dangerous countries for journalists and police said the killing of Romeo Olea was likely linked to his show, which focused on a small city government in the east of the country.
See the full article (AFP, 6/13/11)
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The War against Journalists in the Middle East
American freelance journalist Matthew VanDyke travelled to Libya on March 6 to report on the North African nation's nascent uprising -- at that point in its third week. VanDyke has not been heard from since March 13. Unfortunately, VanDyke's case is not unique. The Committee to Protect Journalists' (CPJ) research shows that at least 15 journalists and media workers are currently missing or in government custody in Libya.
See the full article (Foreign Policy, 6/13/11)
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Pentagon Papers vs. WikiLeaks: Is Bradley Manning the New Ellsberg?
Four decades after The New York Times published the Pentagon Papers, supporters of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning are drawing parallels between the motives that drove Daniel Ellsberg to disclose the Pentagon Papers and Manning's alleged handover of secret government documents to the website WikiLeaks, which released them in tandem with several newspapers.
See the full article (Christian Science Monitor, Anna Mulrine, 6/13/11)
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Dying to Tell the Story
We have buried another journalist. Syed Saleem Shahzad, an investigative reporter for Asia Times Online, has paid the ultimate price for telling truths that the authorities didn't want people to hear. He disappeared a few days after writing an article alleging that Al Qaeda elements had penetrated Pakistan's navy and that a military crackdown on them had precipitated the May 22 terrorist attack on a Karachi naval base.
See the full article (New York Times, Umar Cheema, 6/11/11) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Internet and Social Media

Government 'May Have Hacked IMF'
Hackers who broke into the International Monetary Fund's computer system may have been backed by a nation state, according to security experts. They point to the sophisticated nature of the attack and the resources needed to develop it. Malicious software, designed to steal confidential files, was installed on at least one IMF computer.
See the full article (BBC, 6/13/11)
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In Iran, 'Couch Rebels' Prefer Facebook
Two years ago, Iranian activists used social media sites as engines to organize massive anti-government demonstrations. But now, activists say, the limitless freedoms available online are proving to be a distraction from real-world dissent. Instead of marching in the streets, the same doctors, artists and students who led the demonstrations in 2009 are playing Internet games and confining their political debates to social media sites such as Facebook, where dissent has proved less risky.
See the full article (Washington Post, Thomas Erdbrink, 6/13/11)
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U.S. Underwrites Internet Detour Around Censors
The Obama administration is leading a global effort to deploy "shadow" Internet and mobile phone systems that dissidents can use to undermine repressive governments that seek to silence them by censoring or shutting down telecommunications networks. The effort includes secretive projects to create independent cellphone networks inside foreign countries.
See the full article (New York Times, James Glanz and John Markoff, 6/12/11) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Is WikiLeaks a Force for Good?
Without question, WikiLeaks has made a remarkable contribution to free speech, human rights and the operation of democracy, by offering better protection to journalistic sources and by holding governments to account by revealing abuse and empowering the public to make better-informed democratic choices. WikiLeaks's publication of US cables revealing former Tunisian leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali's corruption and nepotism is said to have contributed to the ''jasmine revolution'', which saw him removed.
See the full article (Sydney Morning Herald, 6/11/11)
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NATO's Newest Bombing Tool: Twitter
In the early days of the Libya war, U.S. commanders were adamant that they didn't communicate with the Libyan rebels about what targets to bomb. As it turns out, they don't need to. They've got Twitter. NATO officials conducting air strikes on forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi don't have soldiers on the ground. But they do have a barrage of tweets about Gadhafi's troop movements in beleaguered cities like Benghazi and Tripoli, all of which come in handy when picking out targets.
See the full article (Wired, Spencer Ackerman, 6/10/11)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

Soldiers in Sinai: A Peacekeeping Story
From the creation of the United Nations Emergency Force, the film tells the story of how men were flown to the Sinai desert on short notice to take up positions between two opposing sides, a peacekeeping operation that followed in the wake of the 1973 war in the Middle East.
Visit PeaceMedia
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