USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, November 10 - 16, 2011

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

EU Suppresses its Own Film on Afghan Women Prisons
One woman is doing 12 years in prison for being the victim of a rape. The second is in jail for running from an abusive husband. Both say they want to tell their stories, and yet a film about their plight has been scrapped, sparking controversy about how committed the international community is to fighting for women's rights in Afghanistan. The documentary, "In-Justice: The Story of Afghan Women in Jail," was commissioned by the European Union, which has now decided not to release it.
See the full article (AP, Heidi Vogt, 11/16/11)
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Indian, Pakistani Journalists to Avoid Injudicious Words
As a delegation of 22 journalists from Mumbai were welcomed at the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday, a declaration of cooperation was signed under which journalists agreed to use acceptable language while reporting events in both countries and to eliminate words which propagate hate speech. In a historic move, the presidents of the Karachi and Mumbai press clubs, Tahir Hasan Khan and Prakash Akolkar, respectively, decided that measures to improve cooperation between journalists from both countries should be taken.
See the full article (News International, Sidrah Roghay, 11/16/11)
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Pakistani Journalist Given U.S. Asylum Tells of Threats, Disappearances in Baluchistan
On Aug. 19, [Siraj Ahmed Malik, an ambitious young Pakistani journalist] applied for political asylum in the United States. In his petition, he said that his work as a journalist and ethnic activist in Baluchistan, where he had exposed military abuses, made him likely to be arrested, tortured, abducted and "ultimately killed by the government" if he returned.
See the full article (Washington Post, Pamela Constable, 11/14/11)
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Bahrain TV Station Struggles as Signal Blocked
Aimed at people in Bahrain, [Lualua TV] carries news and talk shows about the country. But since its inception, it has only managed to reach to televisions in the Gulf kingdom for four hours - before the signal was blocked. While not officially blaming the country's government, station management say it is hard to see who else would intervene.
See the full article (BBC, Simon Atkinson, 11/14/11)
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Reporting Libya: Freelance Coverage, Full-time Dangers
According to some estimates, at one point some 400 journalists and photographers were based in Benghazi as freelancers, many of them covering their first conflict. That has prompted an intense debate about both the responsibilities of news organisations using freelances and the individual responsibility of freelances themselves.
See the full article (Guardian, Peter Beaumont, 11/13/11)
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Al-Jazeera Launches Balkans Broadcast
Officials of al-Jazeera Balkans say they are starting on Friday evening and plan to provide "objective" and "professional" news to people in countries of the former Yugoslavia in their own languages. The operation is expected to reconnect people divided by the wars in the former Yugoslavia and offer them new perspectives of each other.
See the full article (AP, 11/11/11)
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Documentary 'Under Fire' Shows That War is Hell for Journalists
"Only two journalists were killed covering World War I. Almost 900 have been killed in the past two decades." This staggering statistic is highlighted in Under Fire: Journalists in Combat, a provocative new documentary that explores the increasing dangers and psychological costs of covering war.
See the full article (Atlantic, Sean Coons, 11/10/11)
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Internet and Social Media

Senators Urge Probe into US Firm Aid for Syria
US senators called in a letter released Monday for an investigation into whether US companies have provided Internet monitoring and censorship technology to Syria, aiding its crackdown on dissent. US firms should not "provide tools of repression to murderous regimes," they said, citing news reports that Syria has been using technology from from California-based NetApp, Inc. and Blue Coat Systems to track regime foes.
See the full article (AFP, 11/15/11)
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Twitter vs. the KGB
Can social media save a journalist in trouble in a place like Kyrgyzstan? [Last week], the words "American photographer Nic Tanner being harassed and physically assaulted in #Osh, #Kyrgyzstan. Please help!" went out to 738 Twitter followers in English and Russian. The responses poured in immediately, mostly from young former and current Kyrgyz officials.
See the full article (Foreign Policy, Natalia Yefimova-Trilling, 11/11/11)
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Twitter Must Give User Info in WikiLeaks Probe
A federal judge upheld a ruling that the website Twitter must turn over certain account information to prosecutors. Lawyers for the Twitter users, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, say the government can use those IP addresses as a sort of virtual tracking device to pin down the specific computer used by an account holder and with it the user's physical location.
See the full article (AP, Matthew Barakat, 11/11/11)
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Sentiment Analysis Reveals How the World is Feeling
Researchers have been exploring the possibilities of sentiment analysis in areas other than national security and intelligence. The availability of large amounts of textual data online makes mood tracking of large groups easier than ever. [On the Media] host Bob [Garfield] spoke with Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing Professor Johan Bollen about the different applications for sentiment analysis.
See the full article (NPR, 11/11/11)
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U.S. Calls for NetApp Probe on Syria Spy Tech
Senators Mark Kirk and Robert Casey will send a letter today to the State and Commerce departments requesting an investigation into two U.S. companies whose technology has been used to "monitor activities of Syrian citizens." The Syrian Internet surveillance project, headed by the Italian company Area SpA, is designed to intercept and catalog virtually every e-mail that flows through the country.
See the full article (Bloomberg, Ben Elgin and Vernon Silver, 11/10/11)
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Open Source Meets Mobile in Ashoka's Citizen Media Competition
Mobile was a major theme running through many of the finalists in the "Citizen Media: A Global Innovation Competition"-- most likely because in developing nations, mobile phone use is often more widespread than Internet connectivity, so many people depend on their cell phones as a way to receive crucial information.
See the full article (PBS, Desiree Everts, 11/10/11)
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Mexico's Brutal Zetas Drug Cartel Launches Violent Campaign to Censor Social Media Sites
The cartel has already attacked rivals, journalists and other perceived enemies. Now, the target is an online chat room, Nuevo Laredo en Vivo, that allows users to comment on the activities of the Zetas and others in the city on the border with Texas. Despite heightened security awareness among the site's users Thursday, they remain tremendously vulnerable.
See the full article (AP, 11/10/11)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

One Thousand Women and a Dream
The documentary film 1000 Women and a Dream tells the story of the project 1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005 from its first steps through to the selection and nomination of the peacewomen to the Nobel Committee. The film introduces six of these very tenacious and courageous peacewomen.
See the full video
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Please note: There will be no News Roundup distributed next week due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
Happy Thanksgiving from USIP's Center of Innovation for Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding!



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