USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, July 7 - 13, 2011

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

RFE/RL Reporter Fined Over Belarus Protest
An RFE/RL correspondent in western Belarus has been found guilty of taking part in an illegal protest and fined the equivalent of around $200, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports. Mikhail Karnevich was sentenced by a court in the city of Hrodna over a protest on July 3, the country's Independence Day.
See the full article (RFE/RL, 7/11/11)
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Vietnam Detains Anti-China Protesters and Journalists from US, Japan News Agencies
Security forces in Vietnam quashed an anti-China rally in the capital by detaining protesters along with journalists covering the event for foreign news agencies, including The Associated Press. More than a dozen demonstrators who gathered near the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi were herded onto buses by police when they tried to assemble for the sixth straight Sunday to express outrage over an ongoing spat with China involving disputed territory in the South China Sea.
See the full article (AP, 7/10/11)
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Sudan Split was 'Over-simplified' by Media
For many directly affected by the world's longest-running civil war, the Sudanese conflict has been over-simplified in the Western press as inter-religious or inter-ethnic strife. "The media tried to make us look like Jafar in Aladdin," says Khalid Albaih, a Sudanese political cartoonist. "Everyone looks alike [in Sudan], the Arabs and the Africans," he adds.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, Ali M. Latifi, 7/10/11)
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Internet and Social Media

Kenya Opens its Books in Revolutionary Transparency Drive
When violence erupted after the 2007 Kenyan elections, a team of activists produced Ushahidi - a digital open-source platform to monitor crises in near real-time. Around the same time, a partnership between Vodafone and Safaricom, Kenya's largest mobile operator, produced M-PESA, the mobile banking system that has revolutionised the way many Kenyans manage their money. Projects from Ushahidi to M-PESA have put Kenya firmly on the map of ICT innovation in international development - a position and a trend the Kenyan government now seems eager to promote.
See the full article (Guardian, Claire Provost, 7/13/11)
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Social Media: A Double-edged Sword in Syria
Social media played a pivotal role in the ousting of Arab leaders in Egypt and Tunisia, but activists in an uprising in Syria fear the government is keeping tabs on them by scanning websites such as Facebook and Twitter. "I am too scared to speak about my political activity on Facebook," said a 21-year-old activist, who asked to be referred to as Rana. "I'm not going to open a Twitter account," she said.
See the full article (Reuters, 7/13/11)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Rock the Casbah" on July 18 at 10:00am.
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Facebook and Other Social Media 'Used for Cyber-jihad'
Al-Qaeda is using online technology to plan attacks in pursuit of a "cyber-jihad", the government has warned. The UK's updated counter-terrorism strategy suggests terrorists' use of social media to disseminate information and radicalise people is "commonplace". It said there was evidence of extremist groups seeking "to invade Facebook."
See the full article (BBC, 7/12/11)
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While Obama Hedges, U.S. Flames Syria Thugs on Facebook
Loyalists of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad vandalized the U.S. embassy in Damascus on Monday, pelting it with eggs, rocks and tomatoes and scrawling anti-American graffiti on the facade. The attack was as audacious as it was misdirected. The center of U.S. criticism of Assad isn't inside the embassy anymore, it's on the embassy's Facebook page. Case in point: U.S. ambassador to Syria Robert Ford posted a decidedly undiplomatic condemnation on his Wall yesterday in response to a precursor demonstration.
See the full article (Wired, Spencer Ackerman, 7/11/11)
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Diplomacy in the age of Facebook
Today's demonstrations outside the U.S. and French Embassies in Damascus may have been prompted by anger over the respective ambassadors' trips to a city that is a center of anti-government unrest. But they've been ticked up by social media. In simultaneous but uncoordinated visits to the Syrian city of Hama last week, American Ambassador Robert Ford and French ambassador Eric Chevallier gave tacit support to forces opposed to President Bashar Assad.
See the full article (CBS, David Morgan, 7/11/11)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

Screening: La Ola Verde - Margarita Martínez
La Ola Verde or "Antanas' Way" is a film funded by Open Society Foundations which tells the dramatic story of Antanas Mockus' campaign for President. Mockus' unique political campaign focused on transparency and rule of law, defying all typical stereotypes on Latin American politics. Though bested by the establishment candidate Juan Manuel Santos, Antanas' success presents hope for a new way of doing politics in a nation burdened by crime.
Visit PeaceMedia
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