USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace

 

Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, September 1 - 7, 2011

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

Two Mexican Journalists Murdered
Two female journalists were found dead on Thursday in a Mexico City park. They were naked, with their hands and feet bound, and it appears that they were strangled. Their killings follow a pattern of murders by organised crime gangs and drug cartels. But they are the first such killings of media workers in the nation's capital city.
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 9/7/11)
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Palestinians Deploy Obama Speech in U.N. Campaign
President Barack Obama is an unlikely participant in a Palestinian campaign to drum up support for a bid to win U.N. recognition of their statehood -- a diplomatic move opposed by both his administration and Israel. But as part of an official media campaign begun this week, Palestinians have pulled from the archive some words spoken by Obama during the 2010 U.N. General Assembly, in which he alluded to the prospect of a Palestinian state joining the world body.
See the full article (Reuters, Tom Perry, 9/7/11)
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Sudan Confiscates Pro-opposition Paper
Sudan on Sunday blocked the publication of a paper affiliated with a major opposition party, in the latest assault against freedom of press by the country's security authorities. Al-Maydan, the bi-weekly mouthpiece of the Sudanese Communist Party, on Monday circulated a release saying that copies of its Sunday's edition were confiscated by agents of the country's National Intelligence and Security Services.
See the full article (Sudan Tribune, 9/6/11)
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Photographers Honor One of their Own Killed in Libya
Photographers are honoring one of their own with an online benefit sale Monday aimed at helping the children of South African photojournalist Anton Hammerl, who was reportedly killed in Libya in early April. The sale marks the 5-month anniversary of the death of Hammerl, who was last seen by fellow journalists on April 5, 2011, after being shot in the stomach by forces loyal to Moammar Gaddafi.
See the full article (CNN, Chelsea J. Carter, 9/5/11)
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Voice Of America's Role In Internet Age
The Voice of America has a weekly audience of 123 million people around the world. Its highly-regarded news and music programs are heard in 44 different languages. But in this day of the Internet and social media, and a time of shrinking budgets, what interest does the United States have in spending $200 million dollars on a government broadcast service when there are so many sources of information and entertainment available around the world? Host Scott Simon speaks with David Ensor, who took over directorship of Voice of America last month.
See the full article (NPR, Scott Simon and David Ensor, 9/3/11)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Media in Conflict: The Evaluation Imperative" on September 9 at 9:00am, at which David Ensor will deliver a keynote address. You can also watch the live webcast!
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SYRIA: Satellite TV Station Keeps Moammar Gaddafi on the Air
He's in hiding and state TV doesn't take his calls anymore, but Moammar Gaddafi can still count on one friendly place to air his calls to burn Libya down: Syria, where beleaguered leader Bashar Assad is allowing a satellite TV station to air all the deposed Libyan leader's fervent appeals. Al Oruba channel, linked to the privately owned Al Rai station in Syria, aired Gaddafi's two latest audio messages Thursday, both calling for any supporters he has left in Libya to keep battling.
See the full article (Los Angeles Times, Ellen Knickmeyer, 9/2/11)
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Activists at Uzbek Embassy in Bishkek Support Uzbek Journalist
Dozens of activists picketed the Uzbek Embassy in Bishkek today in support of Uzbek journalist Yelena Bondar. One of the organizers of the picket, Ulugbek Babakulov, told RFE/RL that Bondar was arrested at Tashkent airport on August 22 on her return from Bishkek, where she had attended journalism seminars organized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
See the full article (RFE/RL, 9/2/11)
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Libya Media: Gaddafi Mouthpieces Fall Silent
For Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the loss of Tripoli also meant that he lost his media outlets - a main driver of his personality cult and his authoritarian rule up until a week ago. An extensive media group of dozens of domestic and satellite radio and TV channels, newspapers and magazines vanished, leaving Col Gaddafi with severely limited choices. Some media workers were arrested and paraded on YouTube videos.
See the full article (BBC, 9/2/11)
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Internet and Social Media

The Spy Who Tweeted Me: Intelligence Community Wants to Monitor Social Media
A research arm of the intelligence community wants to sweep up public data on everything from Twitter to public webcams in the hopes of predicting the future. The project is the brainchild of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, or Iarpa, a relatively new part of the spy community that's supposed to help investigate breakthrough technologies. While other projects exist for predicting political events, the Open Source Indicators program would be perhaps the first that mines data from social media websites.
See the full article (Wired, Sharon Weinberger, 9/7/11)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Sifting Fact from Fiction: The Role of Social Media in Conflict" on September 16 at 9:00am. You can also watch the live webcast!
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Naming Names on the Internet
Three years ago, after the suicide of a popular actress who had been bullied via the Internet, South Korea introduced a radical policy aimed at stamping out online hate. It required contributors to Web portals and other popular sites to use their real names, rather than pseudonyms. The South Korean experience shows that "real name" policies are a lousy idea, and privacy threats are only one reason. Online anonymity is essential for political dissidents, whose role has been highlighted in the uprisings in the Arab world, and for corporate whistle-blowers.
See the full article (New York Times, Eric Fanner, 9/4/11) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Classification Conundrum
How should the government handle information that is both secret and no longer secret? It's a problem agencies like the CIA and FBI have long grappled with, but it's made all the more complicated by groups like Wikileaks who make classified information available for the public. The New York Times' Scott Shane talks about the government's classification dilemma.
See the full article (NPR, 9/2/11)
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Anger as Wikileaks Releases All US Cables Unredacted
Wikileaks' media partners have strongly criticised the whistleblower group's decision to release its entire archive of US cables uncensored. It comes amid a row between Wikileaks and the Guardian newspaper over who was behind the earlier release of thousands of unredacted cables.
See the full article (BBC, 9/2/11)
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Putin Says State Should Not Control Internet
Modern states should not restrict Internet freedoms, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday, apparently trying to dispel concerns the government might crack down on dissent ahead of elections. Putin, a longtime Soviet KGB officer who is considering returning to the presidency in the March 2012 election, made clear the government had the means to limit internet freedoms but suggested it would be morally wrong to do so.
See the full article (Reuters, Steve Gutterman, 9/1/11)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

As We Forgive: The Story of Rwanda's Redemption
Could you forgive a person who murdered your family? This is the question faced by the subjects of As We Forgive Those, a documentary about two Rwandan women coming face-to-face with the men who slaughtered their families during the 1994 genocide. Struggling to live again as neighbors, these survivors and killers discover the power and the pain of radical reconciliation. In As We Forgive, director Laura Waters Hinson and narrator Mia Farrow explore these topics through the lives of four neighbors once caught in opposite tides of a genocidal bloodbath, and their extraordinary journey from death to life through forgiveness.
See the full video
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