USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

 

United States Institute of Peace

 

Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, April 26 - May 2, 2012

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

Jailed Ethiopian Journalist Eskinder Nega Honoured
An imprisoned Ethiopian journalist and blogger has been given a prestigious freedom of expression award. Eskinder Nega was awarded the Pen America's "Freedom to Write" annual prize for publishing articles critical of Ethiopia's human rights record. He was found guilty in January under Ethiopia's anti-terrorism laws and could face the death penalty when he is sentenced. He had published a column questioning the government's claim that a number of journalists it had detained were suspected terrorists, and for criticising the arrest of well-known Ethiopian actor and government critic Debebe Eshetu.
See the full article (BBC, 5/2/12)
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Iran's Oscar-winner to Screen Film in Support of Afghan Refugees
Iranian film director Asghar Farhadi is reportedly planning screenings of his Oscar-winning film, "A Separation," to express solidarity with Afghan refugees in Iran. A number of other prominent Iranian filmmakers are also planning expressions of support amid reports of new restrictions targeting the country's Afghan population. The screenings, which are due to take place on May 11 and 12, will be followed by a discussion between Afghans and Iranian citizens.
See the full article (RFE/RL, Golnaz Esfandiari, 5/1/12)
Click to read "New Media and Old: Using Social Media and Radio to Build Peace in Pakistan and Afghanistan," a USIP On the Issues by Theo Dolan and Michael Dwyer.
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Film Highlights Perils Faced By Iraqis Who Helped U.S.
There are more than 3,000 names on Kirk Johnson's list -- a list that has brought him incredible joy but which has also taken an emotional toll. The names are of Iraqis who worked alongside Americans as translators and advisers during the more than eight-year-long Iraq war and who now fear for their lives and their families' safety. Johnson has worked furiously for the last four years to help resettle these Iraqis in the United States. Now, a new documentary called "The List" artfully dovetails the plight of these Iraqis with Johnson's story.
See the full article (RFE/RL, 4/30/12)
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Journalist from Mexican Newsmagazine Found Dead
The Mexican government's human rights commission said Sunday that it will investigate the apparent slaying of a correspondent for Proceso newsmagazine who often wrote about drug trafficking. Martinez was the Xalapa correspondent for Proceso, one of Mexico's oldest and most respected investigative newsmagazines, and she often wrote about drug cartels in Veracruz, which has seen escalating violence committed by warring drug gangs. She had worked for the magazine for 10 years.
See the full article (AP, 4/30/12)
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Journalist Who Revealed Genital Mutilation in Liberia Forced into Hiding
Liberian journalist Mae Azango's courageous reporting on female genital mutilation in her country helped to ignite an international controversy. But she had to go into hiding following threats and is now on a visit to the United States. Though it forced Liberian officials to declare that the traditional ritual of female genital mutilation should be stopped, police failed to help Azango when she began receiving threats of violence.
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 4/30/12)
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Nigeria: Newspaper Offices Bombed
A suicide bomber and a man armed with explosives attacked two Nigerian newspaper offices on Thursday, killing seven people and wounding at least 26. The radical Islamic sect Boko Haram claimed responsibility. In Abuja, the capital, the suicide bomber drove into the reception area of a major newspaper, ThisDay, a spokesman for the Nigerian Red Cross said. The other attack occurred in the northern city of Kaduna and struck a building that ThisDay shares with two other newspapers, The Moment and The Daily Sun.
See the full article (AP, 4/27/12)
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Reporters Unwittingly Exposing Sources
Journalists have become increasingly reliant on digital technology in their work, but weak or nonexistent digital security measures open their sources to risk of exposure. [On the Media] speaks to journalist Matthieu Aikins about the need for reporters to take more precautions to protect their digital information, especially in conflict areas.
See the full article (NPR, 4/27/12)
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Internet and Social Media

Kuwaitis Worry Twitter Cases Stir Sectarian Tensions
Kuwait is about to take a firmer line on regulation of social media, uneasy about people who it says use Twitter and Facebook to stoke sectarian tensions and wary of spillover from turmoil in nearby Gulf states and Syria. Although Kuwait has largely been spared the sectarian violence that flares in other countries in the region, the Sunni government is constantly aware of the potential for Sunni-Shi'ite tensions to boil over.
See the full article (Reuters, Sylvia Westall, 5/2/12)
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Uganda Speaks: Technology and the Right to Reply
The Kony2012 campaign elicited some fantastic and thoughtful critical responses in the west. But developing countries are real places. And while the argument among NGOs and advocates produced good discussion, the critical missing element has been the voices of people from the countries being represented. What is encouraging is that new media and technology increasingly provide people in the developing world with the ability to challenge and add texture to the single story often portrayed in the western media. Take, for example a young Ugandan journalist who took the opportunity of the Kony debate to upload a video to Youtube explaining her response.
See the full article (National Geographic, Ken Banks, 5/2/12)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Peacebuilding 2.0: Managing Complexity and Working Across Silos" on May 11 at 9:00am.
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Tweeters Urge Leaders to Give Peace a Chance
Social media may have played a role in spreading revolution during the Arab Spring, but can they prevent a war? As the United Nations Security Council was due to meet on Tuesday to debate how to avert a full-scale conflict between Sudan and South Sudan , people on both sides of the newly-created border were urging their governments to scale back the talk of war and "give peace a chance." A new Twitter hashtag - #NewSudans - has been trending on the microblogging site since it was introduced last month at the height of a confrontation over the oil-rich border area of Heglig.
See the full article (International Herald Tribune, Harvey Morris, 5/1/12)
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China's Rush to Erase Blind Activist from Social Media a Case Study in Internet Censorship
A well-known blind activist's escape from house arrest in China has set off a cat-and-mouse conflict on the Internet between censors and netizens. As word of Chen Guangcheng's flight surfaced and spread last Friday, admirers rushed to popular Chinese social media to cheer him on - and the censors swung into action to block key phrases. Here's a look at some of those phrases, which serve as a case study of the Communist government's extensive Web censorship - and how the public tries to evade the controls.
See the full article (AP, 5/1/12)
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Palestinian Minister Resigns over Web Censorship
The communications minister of the Palestinian Authority has resigned, claiming it was trying to silence its critics and curb freedom of expression. Mashour Abu Daqa said senior officials had ordered several opposition websites to be blocked over the past six months. He said the moves were bad for the image of the PA in the modern world. Security forces have also recently arrested four journalists and an activist who had criticised President Mahmoud Abbas and other officials.
See the full article (BBC, 4/27/12)
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Cricket, Schools, Facebook: the Taliban's New PR Drive
The Taliban's newly-launched question and answer section on their website is not only attracting more traffic, but is also becoming a new tool for the insurgents' concerted PR drive. They launched their Q&A section in mid-February 2012 and the questions have been pouring in since then, covering issues ranging from peace talks to sport. The aim of the facility is to win over Afghans by directly addressing individuals who ask them questions - and hence those who may have similar concerns.
See the full article (BBC, 4/27/12)
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As Violence Continues Unchecked in Syria, So Does Cyber Warfare
The Internet has become another battleground in Syria, with rebels and government loyalists hacking into websites to undercut one another with online propaganda and misinformation. Backers of President Bashar Assad have formed the Syrian Electronic Army, which recently hacked the Twitter and Facebook accounts of a Saudi Arabian news channel, Al Arabiya, to spread fake news of a coup and a deadly explosion in Qatar, a nation that has called for arming the Syrian rebels.
See the full article (Los Angeles Times, Emily Alpert, 4/26/12)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"No Women, No Peace" - Gender Action for Peace and Security
No Women, No Peace, a campaign by Gender Action for Peace and Security UK, works to ensure that women's voices are heard in peace negotiations. Watch the campaign video to find out more about the importance of women's participation in peace and reconciliation. You can't make peace by leaving half the people out.
See the full video
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