USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace

 

Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, August 11 - 17, 2011

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

India Right to Information Activist Killed
A right to information activist has been shot dead by an unidentified gunman in the northern Indian city of Bhopal, police said. Shehla Masood was found with a gunshot wound in her car outside her home on Tuesday. Nearly a dozen right to information activists have been killed and scores other attacked in India since 2008.
See the full article (BBC, 8/17/11)
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Hard-Line Iranian Media Demonize Western 'Cultural Threat'
The hard-line daily newspapers "Kayhan" and "Resalat" have called for a new round of "media purification" in Iran. The two dailies were responding to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's characterization of the "cultural invasion" of the country's media by the West as the "key threat" to the Islamic republic. In the editorial "Den of Charlatans" published in "Kayhan" on August 10, Hossein Shariatmadari, the supreme leader's representative, holds Iranian journalists responsible for the unrest that followed the controversial June 2009 presidential election.
See the full article (RFE/RL, 8/16/11)
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BBC Journalist's Trial Begins In Tajikistan
The trial of a BBC reporter accused of associating with banned Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir has begun in the northern Tajik city of Khujand. Urunboy Usmonov, 59, denies the charges, saying any meetings he had with Hizb ut-Tahrir members were for purely journalistic purposes. The BBC has said it regards the accusation as completely unfounded.
See the full article (RFE/RL, 8/16/11)
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Arab Drama Stirs Sectarian Debate in Iraq
An Iraqi lawmakers' move to ban a television drama about events leading up to the historic split in Islam into Sunni and Shi'ite sects lays bare the fears of anything that could ignite sectarian tensions as U.S. troops prepare to leave. Iraq's parliament voted on Saturday to ask the Communication and Media Commission, a media regulator affiliated with parliament, to ban "Al Hassan and Al Hussein" on the grounds it incites sectarian tensions and misrepresents historical facts.
See the full article (Reuters, Rania El Gamal, 8/16/11)
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Iraq Profile - Media
Iraqis can choose from among hundreds of publications and scores of radio and TV stations. Several large players dominate the market, with a plethora of niche broadcasters catering for diverse views. Many outlets are controlled by political or religious movements. Freedom of expression is protected by the constitution. However, it has been "seriously impeded by sectarian tensions and fear of violent reprisals", US-based Freedom House found in 2009.
See the full article (BBC, 8/16/11)
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Al-Jazeera Bureau Chief Arrested in Israel
Samer Allawi, Al-Jazeera's Kabul bureau chief, is under arrest in Israel. He was detained last Tuesday after crossing the border between Jordan and the West Bank at the conclusion of a three-week vacation in his home town near Nablus. The Israeli authorities originally informed Allawi's family that he would be held for four days for questioning, saying that it was a "security-related arrest."
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 8/16/11)
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Internet and Social Media

Facebook Becomes Divisive in Bahrain
It has been six months since anti-government protests inspired by the successful uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. And as in Egypt, many Bahrainis used social media Internet sites such as Facebook to help organize the protests. The Bahraini government is now using Facebook, too - apparently to track down and arrest the protesters.
See the full article (VOA, Phillip Walter Wellman, 8/17/11)
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England Riots: Pair Jailed for Four Years for Using Facebook to Incite Disorder
Two men have been jailed for four years for using Facebook to incite disorder. Jordan Blackshaw, 20, from Marston near Northwich, and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22, from Warrington, appeared at Chester crown court on Tuesday. They were arrested last week following incidents of violent disorder in London and other cities across the UK. Neither of their Facebook posts resulted in a riot-related event.
See the full article (Guardian, Helen Carter, 8/16/11)
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A Brief History of Online Activism
Whether it's raising awareness or calling citizens to action, technology has played a significant role in connecting people with a common goal of change. With the Web 2.0 movement and social networking boom of recent years, just about everyone has a voice via the Internet - and many are using theirs to mobilize. Here is a timeline of some key moments in online activism, most of which resulted in a physical protest or directly affected change.
See the full article (Mashable, Meghan Peters, 8/15/11)
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U.S. Military Disables Iraqi Insurgent Websites, Book 'Counterstrike' Says
The U.S. military has hacked and temporarily disabled Iraqi insurgent and terrorist-based websites, a little-known tactic that's part of a government "counterstrike" capability, according to a new book. At least two sites were "knocked off the web" prior to Iraq's March 2010 national election after "the largest interagency meetings held since" the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, write New York Times reporters Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker in "Counterstrike: The Untold Story of America's Secret Campaign Against Al-Qaeda."
See the full article (Bloomberg, Tony Capaccio and Brendan McGarry, 8/15/11)
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Egypt Activist Charged with Inciting Violence
Egypt's military prosecutors have charged a prominent activist with insulting the country's military rulers and calling for armed operations against the military and the judiciary, lawyers said. Prosecutors briefly detained 26-year-old activist and blogger Asmaa Mahfouz on Sunday for questioning on charges of defaming the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) on social media networks.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, 8/14/11)
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Interview: Social Media, New State TV Change Face of International Broadcasting
Simon Spanswick is the chief executive of the Association for International Broadcasting, a London-based nonprofit industry group that represents and supports international television and radio broadcasters around the world. Spanswick spoke with Ron Synovitz about how social media -- and start-up television broadcasters in China, Iran, and the Middle East -- are shaping a new landscape for international broadcasting.
See the full article (RFE/RL, Simon Spanswick and Ron Synovitz, 8/13/11)
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Insight: China's Microbloggers Rattle the Censor's Cage
"For Chinese people, Weibo is creating an arena that is much more free than traditional media," said Chinese journalist Keqin Wang, who is well known for his painstaking reports on corruption and official misdeeds. "It's also turning more Chinese people into citizen journalists," he said. China's microblog sites, which claim 195 million users and allow people to shoot out short bursts of often strongly worded opinion, have put China's Communist rulers in a difficult spot.
See the full article (Reuters, Chris Buckley and Melanie Lee, 8/12/11)
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Making Maps, the Google Way
In February 2010, a government official from Cambodia wrote a letter to Google, complaining about one of the company's maps. The letter claimed that Google's depiction of a stretch of border between Cambodia and Thailand was "devoid of truth and reality, and professionally irresponsible." Writer and editor John Gravois points out that 21st-century mapmaking can be politically thorny.
See the full article (NPR, John Gravois, 8/12/11)
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England Riots: Government Mulls Social Media Controls
The government is exploring whether to turn off social networks or stop people texting during times of social unrest. David Cameron said the intelligence services and the police were exploring whether it was "right and possible" to cut off those plotting violence. Rights groups said such a measure would be abused and hit the civil liberties of people who have done nothing wrong.
See the full article (BBC, 8/11/11)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

World Peace Game - John Hunter
John Hunter puts all the problems of the world on a 4'x 5' plywood board -- and lets his 4th-graders solve them. At TED2011, he explains how his World Peace Game engages schoolkids, and why the complex lessons it teaches -- spontaneous, and always surprising -- go further than classroom lectures can.
See the full video
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