USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, December 29, 2011 - January 4, 2012

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

Charges Against Journalists Dim the Democratic Glow in Turkey
A year ago, the journalist Nedim Sener was investigating a murky terrorist network that prosecutors maintain was plotting to overthrow Turkey's Muslim-inspired government. Today, Mr. Sener stands accused of being part of that plot, jailed in what human rights groups call a political purge of the governing party's critics. Mr. Sener, who has spent nearly 20 years exposing government corruption, is among 13 defendants who appeared in state court this week.
See the full article (New York Times, Dan Bilefsky and Sebnem Arsu, 1/4/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Media Rights Body Urges UN Action after 'Bloody Year'
Media rights activist IFJ called on the United Nations Saturday to take "drastic action" against governments of the most dangerous countries for media after 106 journalists and media personnel were killed in 2011. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said 2011 was "another bloody year" for the media. It blamed "governments' failure to uphold their international obligations for the ongoing violence targeting media".
See the full article (AFP, 1/1/12)
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Acting Out War's Inner Wounds
In the months after checking out of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, [Sgt. Matthew Pennington] found himself easily frustrated and, his wife said, perpetually angry. In 2009, an unexpected opportunity landed in his e-mail inbox: a casting call, from an undergraduate filmmaker looking for someone to play a combat veteran who had lost a leg, had post-traumatic stress disorder and lived in Maine.
See the full article (New York Times, James Dao, 1/1/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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AP Exclusive: US Ups Extremist Fight in Pakistan
The U.S. has created a new unit in Pakistan that aims to leverage grassroots efforts by working with local moderates to counter violent extremism - the first of its kind set up by an American embassy anywhere in the world, according to U.S. officials here. It will use TV shows, documentaries, radio programs and posters. It also intends to ramp up exchange programs for religious leaders and public outreach to conservative Muslims who previously had little contact with American officials.
See the full article (AP, Sebastian Abbot, 12/31/11)
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Kazakh Senate Approves Controversial Broadcast Law
[The draft law] requires all foreign television and radio stations to be fully registered with an official Kazakh entity and that 50 percent of the broadcasts of foreign channels consist of domestic content by 2018. Dunja Mijatovic, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) representative on freedom of the media, said the draft law would violate the rights of citizens to freely receive and impart information and it increases state control over the electronic media.
See the full article (RFE/RL, 12/30/11)
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Russian Newspaper 'Being Persecuted'
Vitaly Shapran, editor of the Gorodskoi Vestnik, the only opposition paper published in Berdsk, Novosibirsk, wrote of pressure being exerted by the authorities. He claims that the election of a Communist party representative as the city's mayor has been followed by an attack on civil liberties and a proposal to require the accreditation of journalists.
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 12/29/11)
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Basil Al-Sayed, Who Chronicled The Syrian Uprising, Is Dead
This was the last thing Basil al-Sayed, a citizen journalist in Syria, filmed before he was shot in the head by security forces. In Bab Amr, the neighborhood that has come under a heavy attack by the security forces over the past few months, the role of al-Sayed was instrumental in relaying information and getting the word out, Jarrah added.
See the full article (NPR, Ahmed Al Omran, 12/29/11)
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Internet and Social Media

Internet Access Is Not a Human Right
There is a high bar for something to be considered a human right. Loosely put, it must be among the things we as humans need in order to lead healthy, meaningful lives, like freedom from torture or freedom of conscience. It is a mistake to place any particular technology in this exalted category, since over time we will end up valuing the wrong things.
See the full article (New York Times, Vinton G. Cerf, 1/4/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Social Media Carries Prison Message From Iranian Activist
A well-known Iranian political activist, Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, has managed to send out an unprecedented video message from the Rajayishahr prison in which he dismisses Iran's repressive measures aimed at silencing dissent and predicts they will fail. The video was recorded recently on a mobile phone and posted on YouTube. It was then quickly shared on Facebook, blogs, and other social media sites.
See the full article (RFE/RL, Golnaz Esfandiari, 1/3/12)
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Hackers Disclose Israelis' Credit Card Information
Hackers claiming to be Saudis posted credit card information of thousands of Israelis on the Internet in what appeared to be a politically motivated attack. The Israeli Ynet news website said the hackers, identifying themselves as Group-XP, called the cyber attack a "gift to the world for the New Year" that they hoped "would hurt the Zionist pocket."
See the full article (AP, Amy Tiebel, 1/3/12)
Click to read "Year in Review: Palestine/Israel Outlook," a USIP On the Issues by Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen.
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2011 Told Through Twitter Video
If you want to take another look back at the year, filmmaker Jeremiah Warren took it upon himself to produce a moving Twitter year in review. The collection of tweets summarizes the top stories of 2011 by highlighting breaking news via Twitter. Set to a nostalgic score, the video is both poignant and humorous. Topics range from revolutions to deaths to the end of the Iraq war.
See the full article (CBS, Chenda Ngak, 1/3/12)
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Website Says 4,000-plus Iraqi Civilians Killed in 2011
A total of 4,063 civilians died violent deaths in 2011, according to the Iraq Body Count website. Iraq Body Count is an independent public database that uses media reports as well as figures from hospitals, morgues, nongovernmental organizations and official statements. Official Iraqi government figures are typically lower, and getting an accurate picture of the Iraq war toll is difficult at best.
See the full article (CNN, 1/2/12)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"Bill Gates Interview With Author Charles Kenny" - The Gates Notes
Entrepreneur and famed development donor Bill Gates wrote a review of the book "Getting Better: Why Global Development is Succeeding - and How We Can Improve the World Even More." In an interview produced by, the author, economist Charles Kenny, sits down with Gates to discuss the book.
See the full video
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