USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace

 

Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, August 4 - 10, 2011

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

Iraq Passes Controversial Journalism Protection Law
The Iraqi Parliament passed a bill Tuesday proclaiming to guarantee more protections and rights for journalists, although several journalist rights groups have opposed the law's passage. The Journalists Protection Law, originally proposed in August of 2009, protects journalists from questioning or investigations unless a judge mandates that action. The original bill only protected Iraqi journalists, but the passed law has provisions for foreign media if they contract with the Iraqi Union of Journalists.
See the full article (Jurist, Julia Zebley, 8/10/11)
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Al Jazeera Changes Plan to Rerun Documentary
Al Jazeera English has quashed several planned rebroadcasts of "Shouting in the Dark," an hourlong documentary about Bahrain's crackdown on pro-democracy protesters that had its debut last week and brought complaints from Bahraini authorities. The decision this week to halt the repeats raised concerns among Al Jazeera's staff members that the channel was succumbing to political or diplomatic pressure from Bahrain and its ally Saudi Arabia.
See the full article (New York Times, Brian Stelter, 8/9/11)*NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Syria's Growing Army of Young, Media-savvy Activists
Since protests erupted in March, it has been young Syrian activists, at home and abroad, making up for the vacuum of traditional reporting in their stricken country. They risk their lives daily with humility, courage and determination. International news organisations and agencies are increasingly dependent on videos and photos relayed by these groups.
See the full article (France 24, Perrine Mouterde, 8/9/11)
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Kazakh Journalist 'Ignited Ethnic Hatred' with Crossword Clue
The chief editor of a weekly newspaper in northern Kazakhstan has been found guilty of "igniting ethnic hatred" over a crossword clue deemed insulting to the Kazakh nation. Sergei Kibasov, chief editor of "Stepnoi mayak" (Steppe Lighthouse) published in the city of Kokshetau, pleaded guilty to printing the puzzle that included the question: "Name the house of a Kazakh street bum," to which the correct answer was "yurt," the traditional home of the nomadic peoples of Eurasia, including the Kazakhs.
See the full article (RFE/RL, 8/8/11)
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The Black Hole of North Korea
Reporting on North Korea, the world's most opaque nation, is by definition conjecture. "Anyone who tells you that they know anything for certain about North Korea is either trying to kid you or trying to kid themselves," said Ralph Cossa, president of the Pacific Forum of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and a longtime North Korea watcher. Why is North Korea an information black hole?
See the full article (New York Times, Isaac Stone Fish, 8/8/11) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Mubarak Trial Contentious for Mid-east Media
While Egyptians were transfixed by live coverage of the trial of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, media coverage elsewhere in the region suggested some governments were less than happy to broadcast images of a former Middle Eastern ruler in court. Like Egyptian TV stations, the region's main satellite news channels devoted wall-to-wall coverage to the trial's first day on Wednesday. But the state-controlled media in several Middle Eastern countries largely ignored the event.
See the full article (BBC, 8/4/11)
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Internet and Social Media

Dundee Teenager Remanded over Facebook 'Riot' Page
A teenager has appeared in court accused of using Facebook to encourage others to riot in Dundee city centre. Liam Allan is alleged to have created a public event listing on the site in the wake of the disorder which has spread through English towns and cities. Prosecutors say the Facebook listing "incited others to riot within Dundee city centre" on Tuesday evening.
See the full article (BBC, 8/10/11)
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Chinese Blogger Released after Ai Weiwei Highlights Case
Ran Yunfei, an uncompromising advocate of free speech, was taken away last February as the Chinese authorities responded to the wave of revolutions sweeping the Middle East by arresting and detaining dozens of prominent lawyers, bloggers and activists. Mr Ran's release comes as Ai Weiwei, the Tate Modern artist who was himself detained for 80 days during the crackdown before being released on bail, appeared to be heading once again for a possible confrontation with the authorities.
See the full article (Telegraph, Peter Foster, 8/10/11)
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American Muslim Pleads Guilty to Using the Internet to Solicit Terrorism
A 22-year-old American Muslim from New Bethlehem, Pa., pleaded guilty on Tuesday to using an Internet website to urge Muslim radicals within the US to engage in a wide range of terror attacks. Emerson Winfield Begolly pleaded guilty in federal court in Pittsburgh to a single charge of solicitation to commit a crime of violence. The solicitations including urging like-minded individuals in the US to sabotage train tracks; destroy phone lines, power lines, and cell phone towers; start forest fires; and engage in isolated attacks against Americans civilians, police, and military officials.
See the full article (Christian Science Monitor, Warren Richey, 8/9/11)
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Google Plus, Pseudonyms & Activists
Google Plus' stringent real-names-only policy appears to be hurting the new social networking site's popularity among activists worldwide. [But] other features in Google+ could be very useful to activists. The site's Circles functionality allows users to restrict messages and shared items to a small circle of contacts.
See the full article (Fast Company, Neal Ungerleider, 8/8/11)
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New Shots Fired in the Cyberwar
Iran has announced plans to implement the first phase of a "National Internet" in late August. Authorities have described the initiative as an effort to "better manage national emails and information gathering within the country and to improve security." Rights advocates believe the project is the latest element in a longstanding campaign to strengthen censorship and surveillance inside Iran, and have described it as an effort to impose a self-contained "intranet" inside the country.
See the full article (RFE/RL, 8/8/11)
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RAF Airman Blogging from Afghanistan's Front Line
A blog about the life of an RAF airman currently on tour in Afghanistan has notched up 80,000 hits, thanks to its blend of humour and gritty realism. The results are often comical, such as his description of a farmer bursting into his office to complain that UK forces had "stolen mud" from a field they were leasing as a place to burn off waste. But the blog also explains the psychological pressures of war with a brutal honesty that is hard to come by elsewhere.
See the full article (BBC, Andy McFarlane, 8/7/11)
Click to read "The Politics of Dispute Resolution and Continued Instability in Afghanistan," a USIP Special Report by Noah Coburn.
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Facebook Shuts Page that Gathered Life-endangering Photos, Details of Northern Ireland Police
Facebook has closed a social networking page that encouraged Irish republicans to post pictures and personal details of Northern Ireland police officers. Facebook took the action Thursday after Northern Ireland police and politicians complained that the page, called Crown Forces Watch, was an intelligence-gathering tool for Irish Republican Army dissidents.
See the full article (AP, 8/5/11)
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Israel's Social Media Defender
He is a vocal proponent of Israel's foreign policy and his no-holds-barred approach to diplomacy has bought him many critics, but love him or hate him, it is hard to ignore Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon. With an extremely high-profile on the web, Ayalon, a member of Avigdor Liberman's Yisrael Beiteinu nationalist political party and a former Israeli ambassador to United States, has been recognized by Foreign Policy Magazine as one of the leading politicians around the globe utilizing social media.
See the full article (CNN, Guy Azriel, 8/5/2011)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

Global Peace Index 2011 - Vision of Humanity
In this video, Vision of Humanity discusses the 2011 Global Peace Index and the impacts of the third year of peace in decline across the world. Of particular focus is the continuation of the war on terror and the potential dangers of the Arab Spring in raising the likelihood of internal conflicts and uprisings within nations.
See the full video
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