USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, June 14 - 20, 2012

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

Media and Journalism

Sudan Crackdown on Independent Newspapers
Three Sudanese newspapers were ordered by the government not to distribute their Sunday issues the weekend after they had printed them. The move is seen as an escalation of the government's campaign against press freedom ahead of plans by the authorities to end fuel subsidies. Newspapers are under strict instructions by the NISS to refrain from reporting statements by South Sudanese officials or Sudanese rebel groups from the western region of Darfur or the border regions of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 6/19/12)
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Jordanian Journalist Missing in Southern Philippines
The authorities in the Philippines are hoping that a prominent Jordanian journalist and his crew, who disappeared on a southern island plagued by kidnapping, will re-emerge safely after he has completed his reporting. Officials suspect that [Baker Atyani] was attempting to interview hostages and members of the Abu Sayyaf militant group. In the past decade, Abu Sayyaf has routinely kidnapped journalists whom it invited into the jungle for interviews.
See the full article (New York Times, Floyd Whaley, 6/19/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Burmese Journalists Brace for Uncertain New World
These are heady days in Myanmar's newsrooms, many of them staffed by young women like those at Kumudra newspaper--nicknamed after "Charlie's Angels" for their tenacity in holding the military-dominated government to account. Reporters and editors are suddenly enjoying remarkable press freedom, as the country's new, nominally civilian government launches a rapid succession of reforms, but they also fear they may be inadequately prepared as they enter uncharted, potentially hazardous territory.
See the full article (AP, Denis D. Gray, 6/19/12)
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Coverage of Scandal Dents Credibility of Pakistani TV News
Television coverage has made politicians more responsive to public opinion, opened new debates on previously taboo topics and introduced a new level of accountability - even among the all-powerful military. But the television revolution has also, in some respects, been bad news for Pakistan. Some shows have given an unchallenged platform to extremists like Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the founder of the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, for whom the United States has offered a $10 million bounty.
See the full article (New York Times, Declan Walsh, 6/18/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
Click to read "Pakistani Journalists, at USIP, Examine Role of Media," a USIP News Brief.
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Associated Press Video Journalist Wounded in Syria, Evacuated to London for Treatment
A video journalist covering the Syrian uprising for The Associated Press was wounded while filming clashes between rebels and the Syrian army. [Ahmed] Bahaddou's injury highlights the dangers to reporters seeking to cover Syria's uprising. The Syrian government rarely grants visas to foreign reporters and strictly limits the movements of those allowed to enter. This has left most reporters relying on contacts with activists and amateur videos shot inside the country to cover the story.
See the full article (AP, 6/17/12)
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The Evolving Propaganda War in Syria
When the conflict in Syria began it was relatively simple - a tyrant versus his people. After more than a year, it's become much more complicated. [On the Media] speaks with BBC Middle East Bureau Chief Paul Danahar who recently returned from Syria about the propaganda both sides of the conflict are putting out and the usefulness of having more journalists on the ground in Syria.
See the full article (NPR, 6/15/12)
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Portraits of Conflict: Can an Image Stop the Bloodshed?
Photojournalist Robert King risked his life to document the human toll in the besieged Syrian city of Al Qusayr. King tells me in the 20 years he's been covering conflict, he has never photographed so many wounded children. He wants his footage to tell the story of the Syrian people to the wider public. The unaltered image is the ultimate portrayal of reality. It depicts the terror on the ground and the urgent need for help. But can it stop the bloodshed?
See the full article (CNN, Kristie Lu Stout, 6/15/12)
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Internet and Social Media

UN Free Speech Expert Criticizes Censorship by Israel, Palestinians
he government of Israel, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza are all unduly limiting free speech through restrictive laws, intimidation and censorship, a U.N. human rights expert said Tuesday. The global body's independent investigator on freedom of expression, Frank La Rue, said the measures have had a chilling effect on the work of journalists and peaceful activists, and urged Israel and the Palestinians to uphold international standards on free speech.
See the full article (AP, 6/19/12)
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The "Whack-a-Mole" Strategy of Pulling Terrorist Videos Offline
From the new head of al Qaeda core, Ayman al-Zawahiri, to terror propagandist Ayman al-Awlaki, using the Internet to spread the jihadist message is a tool of the trade for terrorists. In the last six months of 2011, Google agreed to remove some 640 terrorist videos from YouTube at the request of law enforcement officials in the United Kingdom, because the videos violated the company's guidelines.
See the full article (CNN, Suzanne Kelly and Pam Benson, 6/19/12)
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From Russia with Likes: Kremlin to Launch Facebook-style Social Network
Social networks have been the tool of choice for opposition activists since street demonstrations broke out in December, but the popularity of the internet in Russia means any Chinese-style attempt to assert control from above would be doomed. So the authorities appear to have been forced to play the socially networked activists at their own game.
See the full article (Guardian, Howard Amos, 6/19/12)
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'Taliban Twit-fight' Questioned
The NATO International Security Assistance Force Twitter account recently engaged pro-Taliban user @ABalkhi in a social media tête-à-tête in response to tweets reporting alleged deaths in Afghanistan's Helmand province. @ABalkhi tweeted the report, to which @StewartUpton, spokesperson for the US Marine Corps, retorted. Bloggers label [the] exchange as #PAOfail - or public affairs failure - and raise questions about who's Taliban and who's not.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, 6/19/12)
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Egypt: People and Technology Change a Nation
[Hosni Mubarak's] reported death brings renewed global attention to the ever-changing narrative of Egypt's revolution. The Internet and social media played a key role in the Egyptian uprising - many Egyptians turned to services such as Twitter to organize protests. This was undoubtedly a people's revolution, albeit assisted in new and profound ways by technology. Check out Mashable's interactive timeline to learn how an atmosphere of discontent, a willingness to act and technology combined to create change resulting in the overthrow of a tyrant.
See the full article (Mashable, Alex Fitzpatrick, 6/19/12)
Click to read "Egypt's Elections," a USIP On the Issues by Daniel Brumberg.
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Internet Unshackled, Burmese Aim Venom at Ethnic Minority
Over the past year, Myanmar's government has ended its heavy censorship, allowing citizens unfettered access to a wide variety of Web sites that had been banned during military rule. But as the poverty-stricken country of 55 million makes a delicate transition to democracy, hateful comments are also flourishing online about a Muslim ethnic group, the Rohingya, that is embroiled in sectarian clashes in western Myanmar that have left more than two dozen people dead.
See the full article (New York Times, Thomas Fuller, 6/15/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"Breaking the Cycle of Poverty in Kenya" - UK Aid
UK Aid's Hunger Safety Net Programme is helping 60,000 of Kenya's most vulnerable households to lift themselves out of poverty by giving small cash transfers of around £8 a month. This small amount of money can make a real difference to the lives of Kenya's poorest people by allowing them to start a small business and provide for themselves and their families.
See the full video
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