USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, June 16 - 22, 2011

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

Syrians Talk to Undercover Newsnight Reporter
Syrian state television has broadcast pictures which it says prove that foreign troublemakers are misrepresenting the situation in the country, and that people there are fanatically devoted to President Assad. But no one outside Syria knows for certain because the regime will not allow foreign journalists access to the country. Sue Lloyd-Roberts travelled to Damascus for Newsnight, posing as a tourist to make this report in secret.
See the full article (BBC, 6/21/11)
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"You Are Followers of the Juche Philosophy, So I Can Put My Trust in You"
The North Korean regime's comics, known locally as gruim-chaek ("picture books"), are mass produced on thin, low-quality paper and distributed widely among the isolated regime's privileged classes. As you might expect, they are unabashedly propagandistic, serving up outlandish plots that help inculcate reverence for Great Leader Kim Il Sung and the regime's perennial battles against imperialists of all stripes.
See the full article (Slate, Sebastian Strangio, 6/21/11)
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Aung San Suu Kyi Reveals her Love of Dave Lee Travis<brv
Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has revealed that Dave Lee Travis's radio show helped her survive her years of house arrest. The Nobel Peace Prize winner, who was released last November, admitted she listened avidly to the BBC World Service during her long stints in detention.
See the full article (BBC, Torin Douglas, 6/21/11)
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Gunmen Kill Mexican Journalist, Family
Unidentified gunmen shot dead a journalist, his wife and their 21-year-old son after bursting into their home in Veracruz early Monday, the governor of the eastern Mexican state said. Miguel Angel Lopez was a columnist with the local daily Notiver and wrote frequently about politics and the climate of violence surrounding Mexico's drug wars.
See the full article (AFP, 6/20/11)
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US Journalist, British Activist Assaulted In Azerbaijan
An American journalist and British human rights activist were reportedly attacked and beaten in Baku late on June 15, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports. Reports say four athletic young men followed journalist Amanda Erickson and activist Celia Davies as they were walking to their apartments and then attacked them near the National Drama Theater.
See the full article (RFE/RL, 6/20/11)
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Libyan Media Minders Nervous After Guard Death
Reports that a guard at the hotel housing foreign journalists here had been fatally shot sent a tremor of anxiety through the Qaddafi government's media operation on Monday. While Qaddafi loyalists said the guard accidentally shot himself with his own weapon while eating a late dinner at the end of the hotel two days earlier, at least two people working for the government said on the condition of anonymity that he was killed by rebel snipers.
See the full article (New York Times, David D. Kirkpatrick, 6/20/11) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Nearly 70 Journalists Exiled in Past Year
Nearly 70 journalists were forced to leave their home countries in the past year, a report has found. The report said that over half of those driven into exile were from Cuba and Iran. Both countries, which each forced 18 journalists to flee in the 12 months between June 1 2010 and May 31 2011 2011, are well known for their repressive attitudes towards the press.
See the full article (Telegraph, Leah Hyslop, 6/20/11)
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The Pakistani Taliban's Media Jihad
One month after acknowledging that al-Qaeda Central's founder and leader Osama bin Laden had been killed by the US military, the Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan (TTP) this week issued a written statement eulogizing him and threatening revenge attacks on the US and Pakistani governments. The statement's distribution online via the Global Islamic Media Front, a long-established transnational jihadi media and translation network, is significant, suggesting that the TTP continues to embrace elements of both transnational militancy and domestic insurgency.
See the full article (Foreign Policy, Christopher Anzalone, 6/17/11)
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US Pressing Its Crackdown Against Leaks
Stephen J. Kim, an arms expert who immigrated from South Korea as a child, spent a decade briefing top government officials on the dangers posed by North Korea. Then last August he was charged with violating the Espionage Act - not by aiding some foreign adversary, but by revealing classified information to a Fox News reporter. Mr. Kim's case is next in line in the Obama administration's unprecedented crackdown on leaks, after the crumbling last week of the case against a former National Security Agency official, Thomas A. Drake.
See the full article (New York Times, Scott Shane, 6/17/11)*NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Libya's Civil War
When popular anger bubbled over in Libya in February, the media described it as a series of protests not unlike those seen in Egypt and Tunisia. But as the conflict escalated, the terminology shifted to "uprising" or "rebellion." This week, the Associated Press told its reporters to now refer to the fighting in Libya as a "civil war." AP Deputy Managing Editor and Standards Editor Tom Kent says the AP is constantly discussing the best terminology to use when reporting the news.
See the full article (NPR, Tom Kent and Brooke Gladstone, 6/17/11)
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Internet and Social Media

Hillary Clinton Adviser Compares Internet to Che Guevara
Hillary Clinton's senior adviser for innovation at the US state department has lauded the way the Internet has become "the Che Guevara of the 21st century" in the Arab Spring uprisings. Speaking at the Guardian's Activate summit in London on Wednesday, Alec Ross said "dictatorships are now more vulnerable than ever" as disaffected citizens organise influential protest movements on Facebook and Twitter.
See the full article (Guardian, Josh Halliday, 6/22/11)
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Google, IBM, YouTube, And Kabul? Pentagon Hosts Afghan Tech Entrepreneurs in the US
When you think of Afghanistan, what's the first thing that comes to mind? How about "The next Bangalore"? Probably not. But there's a team at the Pentagon working on that. And last week, they brought five Afghan entrepreneurs to Silicon Valley and New York to give them a glimpse of the US tech industry. "We're showing them what a startup environment feels like," says Paul Brinkley, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense.
See the full article (Fast Company, E. B. Boyd, 6/20/11)
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Activists Using Video to Bear Witness in Syria
There have been few outside witnesses to the three-month popular uprising against the Assad family's 40-year rule of Syria, which has unfolded behind a rolling Internet blackout and efforts to bar foreign journalists from the country. The world has depended largely on online videos of both protests and the government's violent crackdown, which activists say has left more than 10,000 jailed and over 1,300 dead.
See the full article (New York Times, Liam Stack, 6/18/11)*NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Saudi Women Ready To Defy Driving Ban, Fueled by Social Media
Saudi Arabian women plan to start driving their cars Friday, one month after Manal al-Sherif - a key figure in a social media campaign against a ban on female drivers - was arrested when she posted a YouTube video of herself driving around the city of Khobar. The mass driving campaign is the result of an online movement that began around two months ago, when Saudi women's rights activists called for the country's women to start driving their own cars on June 17.
See the full article (Mashable, Radhika Marya, 6/17/11)
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Mobile Technology, Broadband Flourish in Iraq Kurdish Zone
Like many young people hungry for change in the Middle East, 21-year-old student Meran Mubarak is embracing social media as fast as telecommunications advances allow in his Iraqi Kurdistan homeland. While the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein opened up the mobile phone industry and Internet access in Iraq, communication lines outside the Kurdish zone are still patchy.
See the full article (Reuters, Namo Abdulla, 6/16/11)
Click to read "The Coming Turkish-Iranian Competition In Iraq," a USIP Special Report by Sean Kane.
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Al Qaeda Hit List of Individuals Posted on Web
Last week the FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a new terror bulletin listing potential targets that were mentioned on an al Qaeda website. The site, Ansar al-Mujahideen, is a forum for terrorists around the world and is one of the Top 10 outlets distributing jihadi propaganda. The list includes Defense Department officials, names of officers of defense contractors, members of Congress and private individuals.
See the full article (CBS, 6/16/11)
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Social Media Help Keep the Door Open to Sustained Dissent Inside Saudi Arabia
Social media, which helped drive protests across the Arab world, seems tailor-made for Saudi Arabia, where public gatherings are illegal, women are strictly forbidden to mix with unrelated men and people seldom mingle outside their family. Virtually any issue that contradicts official Saudi policy now pops up online, including the status of prisoners being held without trial or a call to boycott municipal elections this September.
See the full article (New York Times, Neil MacFarquhar, 6/16/11)*NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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What's New from PeaceMedia

Living in East Jerusalem - Guardian & B'Tselem
The featured video, "East Jerusalem: The Wall is Choking Us All," is one of six videos presented in "Living in East Jerusalem" a collaboration between the Guardian and Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem. The two organizations worked together on a project to give video cameras and basic training to six residents of Jerusalem. The residents, four Palestinians and two Israelis recorded video diaries about the embattled and controversial neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. The videos were shot by participants and assembled and edited by the Guardian team.
Visit PeaceMedia
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