USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, August 18 - 24, 2011

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

Captive Journalists Walk Free from Tripoli Hotel
Dozens of foreign journalists trapped in one of Tripoli's most glittering hotels for five days walked free Wednesday, ending what some were beginning to fear was a hostage situation. CNN Senior International Correspondent Matthew Chance called the experience a "nightmare" and "very frightening" after he got out. He said the journalists had been held "by crazy gunmen" waving Gadhafi flags and brandishing automatic weapons.
See the full article (CNN, 8/24/11)
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Waves of Disinformation and Confusion Swamp the Truth in Libya
Truth was first a casualty in Libya well before this war began, and the war has not improved matters at all, on any side. Information, or rather truthful information, is often difficult to come by in any war zone. Disinformation is a powerful tool that can be used to mislead the enemy, hide tactics, instigate fear or win public support.
See the full article (New York Times, David D. Kirkpatrick and Rod Norland, 8/23/11)
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Jordan Profile
The Jordanian media have traditionally been under tight state control. "Veneration for the monarchy, religion, but also state institutions and the men who head them are all 'red lines' that journalists must not cross," said Reporters Without Borders in its 2010 country report. Jordan Media City - one of the first such ventures in the region - aims to attract media investments and operates as a regional hub for satellite TV broadcasts.
See the full article (BBC, 8/23/11)
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Alex Crawford is Our New Journalistic Hero
Following her dramatic reports of the rebel assault on Tripoli this week, it now appears that Sky News's Alex Crawford will forever be the journalist linked to the Libyan rising of 2011. As she and her crew rode into Tripoli on the back of a rebel pickup truck, with the vehicle's cigarette lighter socket powering the live satellite linkup, viewers admired her bravery and tenacity in seemingly being the first broadcast journalist to enter the city with the rebels.
See the full article (Guardian, Leo Hickman, 8/22/11)
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Chinese Journalist Suspended for Article Challenging Communist Party's Take on National Hero
A Chinese journalist has been suspended after publishing an article challenging the Communist Party's official take on a national hero, a newspaper reported, in the latest example of a reporter pushing the limits of censorship only to have authorities rein them back in. Magazine editor Zhao Lingmin was suspended Monday because of a Q&A-style interview she did with a Taiwanese historian that portrayed modern China's founding father Sun Yat-sen in an unfavorable light, Hong Kong's South China Morning Post reported Thursday.
See the full article (AP, 8/19/11)
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Internet and Social Media

Special Report: In Libya, the Cellphone as Weapon
When Muammar Gaddafi's government shut off the cellphone network in Misrata in the early days of Libya's uprising, it wanted to stop rebel forces communicating with each other. But the power of a modern phone goes beyond its network. Both rebels and government soldiers have used their phones to take pictures and videos of the conflict, a digital record of fighting from both sides.
See the full article (Reuters, Nick Carey, 8/23/11)
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Why Tech Is Key to the U.S. State Department's Mission
It's clear that digital tools and social innovation now play a crucial role in national affairs, elections and international diplomacy. The Arab spring saw popular uprisings coordinated and fueled by social networks. WikiLeaks has blurred the line between cyber crime and digital vigilantism by posting state and corporate secrets from sources all over the world.
See the full article (Mashable, Zachary Sniderman, 8/23/11)
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After Months of Blackouts, Web Access Returns to Libya
If residents of a chaotic Tripoli were still awake in the early-morning hours Monday, they may have read this: "Welcome to all our brothers & sisters from inside Tripoli on Twitter... Internet returns to them first time in a long time! #Feb17 #Libya." The message on Twitter came from the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, an opposition group that has long spoken out against the regime of Moammar Gadhafi.
See the full article (CNN, Doug Gross, 8/22/11)
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Klout and the Evolution of Digital Diplomacy
If there's one thing the Internet has given us, it's a treasure trove of data about ourselves. For years, few people cared, aside from marketers and advertisers. But that may be changing, as U.S. officials shift gears to a digital-first diplomatic strategy in the face of rising anti-Americanism worldwide.
See the full article (Washington Post, Brian D. Fung, 8/22/11)
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U.S. Providing Iraq With Phone, SMS Monitoring Devices
A U.S. military official says Washington will provide Iraqi authorities with technology to monitor and record phone calls and phone-text messages with the aim of preventing terrorist attacks. Geoffrey Buchanan, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq, told RFI a deal was signed with Iraq's Interior Ministry to provide it with the new technology. He said the agreement is part of an Iraqi training program.
See the full article (RFE/RL, 8/21/11)
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Technology Aids Free Speech - And Its Suppression
Cellphones and the Internet have democratized free speech more than town hall meetings and the printing press. But they also provide governments with easier ways to monitor-and switch off-communication. Ira Flatow and guests discuss the BART cell service shutdown, and the role of social media and messaging in the London riots.
See the full article (NPR, Ira Flatow, 8/19/11)
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Democracies Learn from Mubarak's Example
For the past eight months, the world has watched, captivated, as from one country to the next, youth have manipulated the digital tools that have become part and parcel of their everyday lives to serve their activism. The world too has witnessed as, in each country, state actors have made various attempts to quash the use of such tools. But while it comes as no surprise that despots might find new weapons in the digital space, what's more troubling is the ways in which democratic governments have adapted to the use of digital tools for protest, seemingly taking lessons from their authoritarian counterparts.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, Jillian C. York, 8/18/11)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

New Media and Peacebuilding Resource Center
USIP's New Media and Peacebuilding Resource Center provides peacebuilders with various tools that will help them integrate new media tools - mobile phones, social networking websites, and crisis mapping tools - into their work more effectively. New media tools change the way peacebuilders do their work in country, but they also bring with them a growing body of knowledge around security concerns, infrastructure needs, and best practices.
See the resource center
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