USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace

 

Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, January 12 - 18, 2012

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

Pakistan Taliban Admit Killing Reporter MK Atif
The Taliban in Pakistan have said they killed a journalist while he was praying in a mosque near the city of Peshawar on Tuesday. Mukarram Khan Atif - who worked for the Voice of America broadcasting service - was shot in the head. A spokesman for the militants told the BBC that he was shot dead for not conveying the Taliban's point of view.
See the full article (BBC, 1/18/12)
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I Watched North Korea's Propaganda Film So You Don't Have To
Kim Jong Un is ready for his close-up. Hidden away from both the North Korean people and the world for the better part of a decade, he is now the star of his very own propaganda TV special, an all-you-can-eat buffet of images glorifying the newest star of the Kim dynasty. New footage from North Korean state TV offers a rare glimpse at the (not necessarily real) life of Kim Jong Un.
See the full article (Foreign Policy, Adam Cathcart, 1/13/12)
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Why Training Citizen Journalists is So Important After the Arab Spring
For many of the Arab Spring countries, the press has long served as an arm of the government. As the doors to freedom and democracy swing open in the wake of revolutions, a flood of citizen journalists rushes in to take the place of media outlets held up by old regimes. But without training in ethics, accuracy and production skills, these new citizen journalists risk becoming puppets of influential businesses, organizations and new governments.
See the full article (PBS, Anne Medley, 1/13/12)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Salam Shabab Premiere: Next Generation Peacebuilding and the Arab Spring" on January 25 at 4:00pm.
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Pakistan Panel Fails to Identify Journalist's Killers
A government commission investigating the murder of a Pakistani journalist [Syed Saleem Shahzad] last year has said it failed to identify the culprits. That conclusion is likely to reinforce suspicions that Pakistan's intelligence services act with impunity against journalists or whoever they consider an enemy of the state, such as Taliban militants or Baluch separatists.
See the full article (Reuters, Rebecca Conway and Qasim Nauman, 1/13/12)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Pakistani Peacemakers: The Challenges for Civil Society Actors" on January 19 at 10:00am.
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Death of French Journalist in Syria Brings Calls for Independent Probe of Violence
The French government, human rights groups and Syria's opposition demanded an inquiry into the death Wednesday of Gilles Jacquier, 43, in a barrage of grenades in the restive city of Homs. The award-winning correspondent for France-2 Television was the first Western journalist killed in the 10-month-old uprising.
See the full article (AP, 1/12/12)
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Internet and Social Media

China Expands Program Requiring Real-Name Registration Online
China will expand nationwide a trial program that requires users of the country's wildly popular microblog services to disclose their identities to the government in order to post comments online, the government's top Internet regulator said on Wednesday. Free-speech advocates generally condemn the move, saying that the microblogs' freewheeling debate and frequent criticism of official misconduct will be neutered if the government knows the identity of everyone who posts a comment.
See the full article (New York Times, Michael Wines, 1/18/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Dangerous Social Media Games
The emergence of China's "50 Cent Army" in 2004 marked a new phenomenon by paying commenters, working for or in close conjunction with the state, in an attempt to influence local attitudes. Now, a new plan exposed by the Electronic Intifada reveals that Israel's National Union of Israeli Students (NUIS) has created a scholarship programme to pay Israeli university students $2,000 to [refute] online misinformation.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, Jillian C. York, 1/13/12)
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Chinese Police Warn Human Rights Activist over Internet Comments
A prominent Chinese human rights activist released from prison last year says police have seized two of his computers and warned him to tone down his activism and online comments or face detention. Hu Jia was questioned by police for about seven hours on Thursday, a day after Yu Jie, a well-known dissident writer who has frequently been threatened with jail for his writing, left China for the United States.
See the full article (AP, 1/12/12)
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21st Century Statecraft Add-on to Traditional Diplomacy
Social media has fundamentally changed the way people communicate - and that includes how the State Department interacts with foreign countries. State is calling January 21st Century Statecraft month. The department has set up 10 Twitter feeds, each in a different language. Throughout this month, a department spokesperson is answering questions every Friday tweeted with the hashtag #askstate.
See the full article (Federal News Radio, Jolie Lee, 1/12/12)
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Putin Web Launch Ignores Russian Protests
Ignoring the political upheaval that has shaken Russia over the past month, Vladimir Putin's presidential campaign unveiled a hefty new Web site Thursday that promises a fistful of important reforms but sidesteps the complaints that have drawn tens of thousands of protesters to the streets. The launch of putin2012.ru leaves Russians with no better idea than before how Putin intends to address the issues raised by the demonstrations.
See the full article (Washington Post, Will Englund and Kathy Lally, 1/12/12)
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North Korea Launches English Version of Party Newspaper
North Korea has taken another step to bolster its international digital presence with the launch of an English-language website of the country's main newspaper. The website of "Rodong Sinmun," the newspaper of the country's ruling Workers Party, was launched on January 10. With the vast majority of North Koreans not having access to the Internet, such initiatives are aimed solely at an international audience.
See the full article (RFE/RL, Luke Allnutt, 1/12/12)
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U.S. Acts Quickly to Tamp Down Afghan Video Scandal
The Obama administration on Thursday strongly condemned a viral video that apparently depicts Marines desecrating corpses as U.S. officials tried to prevent a popular backlash in Afghanistan and forestall damage to nascent peace talks with the Taliban. The swift U.S. response was intended to stave off the kind of international outrage that followed the 2004 release of pictures depicting the humiliating treatment of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison.
See the full article (Washington Post, Craig Whitlock and Greg Jaffe, 1/12/12)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

David Beckham Inspires Children - UNICEF
On a recent trip to the Philippines, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham highlighted the importance of a caring and supportive family as he toured the 'Village for Youth,' a Government-run center for young people who have been abused or abandoned.
See the full video
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