USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace

 

Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, August 25 - 31, 2011

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

Iraqi Kurd Journalist Attacked Outside Office
An Iraqi Kurdish journalist told AFP Tuesday he was beaten with the butt of a pistol outside his office, as a rights group condemned "escalating attacks and threats" against media in the Kurdish region. Asos Hardi, the journalist who helped found two of the region's biggest independent newspapers, told AFP that he did not expect the police to catch his assailant, despite official pledges to bring him to justice.
See the full article (AFP, 8/30/11)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Media in Conflict: The Evaluation Imperative" on September 9 at 9:00am. You can also watch the live webcast!
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Second Mexican Journalist Wins U.S. Asylum Bid
A Mexican television cameraman who was kidnapped by a drug cartel in northern Mexico last year has been granted political asylum in the United States, his lawyer said on Tuesday. Alejandro Hernandez Pacheco, 45, who worked as a cameraman for a Televisa affiliate in the city of Torreon, in northern Coahuila state, was granted asylum in El Paso, Texas, the office of his attorney Carlos Spector said.
See the full article (Reuters, Patricia Giovine and Tim Gaynor, 8/30/11)
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The Al Jazeera Revolution
There is some way to go in Libya - but Tripoli has all but fallen, and only a few major centers of resistance remain standing. Why did the Libyan war get here, rather than withering into just one more of the abortive coups and rebellions that have flecked Colonel Gadhafi's forty-two years in power? Despite widespread accounts of the Twitter revolution, the answer is not social media. Only 5.5 percent of Libya enjoys Internet access and a pitiful 0.96 percent is on Twitter. Rather, much older media - satellite television - was more important.
See the full article (CNN, Shashank Joshi, 8/29/11)
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Qatar Profile
Influential Arabic-language news TV network Al Jazeera has raised Qatar's media profile. Al Jazeera is owned by the Qatar government. It can be outspoken on subjects deemed as sensitive in the Arab world, but avoids criticism of Qatar and its Gulf allies, specifically Saudi Arabia. Nevertheless, it has had its bureaus closed in several Arab countries.
See the full article (BBC, 8/28/11)
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President Orders Sudanese Journalists Freed
President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on Saturday ordered the release of all Sudanese journalists, saying Khartoum respects responsible freedom of expression. Witnesses said the decision to free about six journalists in detention came after he attended an annual function by journalists linked to the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
See the full article (Reuters, 8/27/11)
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A Unique Opportunity for Propaganda
Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi's government-controlled media is gone, but New York Times reporter David Kirkpatrick says that nothing has arisen in Libya to accurately relay the news. Libya, he says, remains a place where there is "no reliable rule or yardstick to measure the truth." Brooke spoke with Kirkpatrick about the difficulties of separating truth from lies in Tripoli right now.
See the full article (NPR, 8/26/11)
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State of Post-Revolutionary Egyptian Media
In the aftermath of a revolution, a free media is essential to ensuring democracy. Seven months after their own revolution, the Egyptian media are still far from free, despite an unprecedented amount of openness in the press. Brooke talks to Khaled Dawoud, a reporter for the Egyptian paper Al Ahram, who OTM first spoke to back in April. Dawoud says that despite a proliferation of new voices in the media, the military remains a red line journalists can't cross.
See the full article (NPR, 8/26/11)
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Libyan Media: Past, Present and Future
With a newly freed Libya comes a newly freed Libyan media. In the wake of the revolution, the media in Libya will play an integral role in stabilizing the country, but after decades of serving as nothing but a propaganda tool for the Gaddafi regime, the Libyan media have a lot to learn. Brooke speaks with Jamal Dajani from Internews, which has just released a report on the Libyan media. Dajani says Libya is a clean slate, but in dire need of journalism training and infrastructure.
See the full article (NPR, 8/26/11)
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Libya Conflict: The Dangers of War Reporting
This round-up of Thursday's main media stories focuses on the dangers of war reporting. The extreme dangers of war reporting have been highlighted by two incidents in the battle for Tripoli - the reports by Sky's Alex Crawford from a rebel convoy entering the capital, and the plight of other journalists trapped in the Rixos Hotel.
See the full article (BBC, 8/25/11)
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Syrian Forces Beat up Political Cartoonist Ali Ferzat
Syrian forces beat up a prominent Syrian political cartoonist and left him bleeding on the side of a road, in the latest episode of a campaign to quash dissent against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Ali Ferzat, 60, is one of the Arab world's most famous cultural figures, and his drawings have pushed at the boundaries of freedom of expression in Syria.
See the full article (Guardian, Nour All, 8/25/11)
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Internet and Social Media

Pakistan to Ban Encryption Software
Millions of internet users in Pakistan will be unable to send emails and messages without fear of government snooping after authorities banned the use of encryption software. A legal notice sent to all internet providers (ISPs) by the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority, seen by the Guardian, orders the ISPs to inform authorities if any of their customers are using virtual private networks (VPNs) to browse the web.
See the full article (Guardian, Josh Halliday and Saeed Shah, 8/30/11)
Click to read "Optimism and Obstacles in India-Pakistan Peace Talks," a USIP Peace Brief by Stephanie Flamenbaum and Megan Neville.
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WikiLeaks Site Comes Under Attack
The WikiLeaks website crashed Tuesday in an apparent cyberattack after the accelerated publication of tens of thousands of once-secret State Department cables by the anti-secrecy organization raised new concerns about the exposure of confidential U.S. embassy sources. The Associated Press reviewed more than 2,000 of the cables recently released by WikiLeaks. They contained the identities of more than 90 sources who had sought protection and whose names the cable authors had asked to protect.
See the full article (AP, Cassandra Vinograd, 8/30/11)
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In Unsettled Times, Media Can Be a Call to Action, or a Distraction
The mass media, including interactive social-networking tools, make you passive, can sap your initiative, leave you content to watch the spectacle of life from your couch or smartphone. Apparently even during a revolution. That is the provocative thesis of a new paper by Navid Hassanpour, a political science graduate student at Yale, titled "Media Disruption Exacerbates Revolutionary Unrest."
See the full article (New York Times, Noam Cohen, 8/28/11) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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China Blog Site Shuts Accounts in 'Rumor' Crackdown as Government Tightens Internet Controls
China's most popular microblogging site is cracking down on what it says is the spread of false rumors after the ruling Communist Party told Internet companies to tighten control over information online. The move by Sina Corp. reflects the pressure on China's Internet companies, most of which are privately owned, to take initiative to help Beijing enforce censorship or risk losing the right to operate profitable businesses in a fast-growing market.
See the full article (AP, 8/27/11)
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U.K. Government Won't Ban Social Media in Emergencies
Following the riots that engulfed England earlier this month, social media such as Twitter, Facebook and even BlackBerry messaging found itself being blamed for helping the unrest. At a meeting between U.K. authorities and representatives of Facebook, Twitter and BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion yesterday, U.K. Home Secretary Teresa May announced that the government has "no intention of restricting internet services" at this point, but were instead focused on how social media could be used more constructively during emergencies.
See the full article (Time, Graeme McMillan, 8/26/11)
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WikiHistory: Did the Leaks Inspire the Arab Spring?
Almost two weeks before the desperate young fruit-seller Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire on a street in Tunis and a full month before the uprising that ensued, touching off the "Arab Spring" that is still unfolding, the rationale for revolution appeared on the Internet, where it was devoured by millions of Tunisians. It was a WikiLeaks document pertaining to the unexampled greed and massive corruption of Tunisian president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and all his money-hungry family.
See the full article (World Affairs, Judy Bachrach, 8/11)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"Salam Shabab" - Iraqi Youth Reality TV Series
To build the foundations for peace by empowering Iraqi youth to be confident, responsible, and participatory citizens of their society, Salam Shabab is reality television in which a group of youths, aged 14 to 18 from across Iraq, were were brought together to participate in activities aimed at supporting a new and growing community of young Iraqis committed to peacebuilding. This project is supported by the United States Institute of Peace.
See the full video
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