USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, June 21 - 27, 2012

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

Media and Journalism

Journalists Arrested in Sudan Crackdown
Sudan security forces have arrested scores of people, including several journalists, in a brutal crackdown on protests that began in response to government austerity measures and price increases. Simon Martelli, an Agence France Presse correspondent, was detained for 14 hours in Khartoum. After Salma al-Wardany, an Egyptian journalist for Bloomberg, was detained she was ordered to be deported after it was alleged that she had links to activists. Other Sudanese journalists have also been detained.
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 6/27/12)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "South Sudan: Beyond the First Year" on July 9 at 2:00pm.
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Ethiopia Court Finds 24 Guilty of Terrorism
Twenty-four Ethiopians, including a leading opposition figure and a prominent journalist, faced life in prison Wednesday after a court found them guilty on charges of terrorism. Under the anti-terrorism legislation, the defendants face the death sentence, but the prosecutor recommended life sentences for the 24. "Freedom of speech can be limited when it used to undermine security and not used for the public interest," [judge Endeshaw Adane] said.
See the full article (AFP, 6/27/12)
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Gunmen 'Kill Seven' at Syrian Pro-Assad Ikhbariya TV
Gunmen have attacked a Syrian pro-government TV channel, killing seven people, state media say. Journalists and security guards died in the attack on al-Ikhbariya TV south of Damascus. The Ikhbariya attack followed fierce clashes in suburbs of the capital, Damascus, described by opposition activists as the worst there so far. Syria's Information Minister Omran al-Zoebi condemned the EU's decision to impose sanctions on Syria's state-run TV and radio agency for its support of the Assad government.
See the full article (BBC, 6/27/12)
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Taliban Attack Pakistan's Aaj TV Station in Karachi
The Pakistani Taliban says it carried out the attack on Monday night on a private television station in the southern port city of Karachi. A Taliban spokesman told the BBC it was a response to critical comments by Aaj about the militants and its failure to accommodate Taliban views. Correspondents say this is the Taliban's first direct attack against a media group.
See the full article (BBC, 6/26/12)
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Iraq Backs off on Plans to Force Closure of 44 Media Outlets, Including BBC and VOA
Iraq has suspended plans to close 44 media operations in the country, including the BBC and Voice of America, after an outcry by press freedom advocates, an official said Tuesday. The Communications and Media Commission that regulates the news media in Iraq will give the targeted organizations more time to pay outstanding fees and renew lapsed licenses. The commission denied that its previous order to close the agencies, most of them Iraqi, represented a crackdown on a free press.
See the full article (AP, 6/26/12)
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Philippines Says Reporter From Jordan Held Hostage
A veteran Jordanian journalist who has been missing in the southern Philippines for nearly two weeks is now considered a captive. The Abu Sayyaf group, which has carried out bombings, high-profile kidnappings and beheadings in the southern Philippines for more than a decade, is probably holding Mr. Atyani captive. Abu Sayyaf has repeatedly kidnapped reporters whom they invited into their area for interviews.
See the full article (New York Times, Floyd Whaley, 6/24/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Violence Against Journalists in Veracruz
Veracruz, home of the bloody Zeta cartel, is now the most dangerous place in Mexico to be a journalist. Nine journalists have been killed in the last 12 months alone. [On the Media] travels to Veracruz to talk to journalists about reporting under a constant threat of violence.
See the full article (NPR, 6/22/12)
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Egyptian Journalist Fined for Libel
An Egyptian journalist has been fined for defamation after calling for changes to the editorial staff of Egypt's state-run newspapers. Hanan Youssef, deputy editor of the local newspaper Al-Messa, was fined £1,000 for claiming that many Egyptian news outlets included staff members who maintained links to the ruling military regime. Two bloggers critical of the regime - Mikael Nabil Sanad and Alaa Abd el-Fattah - have been jailed. Others have been charged with "insulting the armed forces."
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 6/21/12)
Click to read "Egypt's Elections," a USIP On the Issues by Daniel Brumberg.
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Burundi Sentences Journalist to Life for "Terrorism"
A Burundian court has sentenced a journalist to life imprisonment for "participating in a terrorist attack", his lawyer said, in a growing clampdown on media in the east African nation. Journalists in Burundi have been targeted in a wave of detentions in the past two years. Human Rights Watch said last month the government tried to restrict independent media and civil society efforts to denounce ongoing violence in Burundi.
See the full article ( Reuters, 6/21/12)
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Internet and Social Media

New Technology Brings New Challenges for Keeping Sources Safe
Journalists are usually trained in traditional methods to keep sources safe, but are often oblivious when it comes to the risk of talking to someone over the Internet. In a meeting of journalists last year, many of whom work with sources in sensitive places like Iran and Syria, one editor said she knew how to keep her sources safe. When pressed, she detailed a strong understanding of traditional safety methods, but -- to the horror of security experts in the room -- also described talking to sources over Skype and web-based email.
See the full article (PBS, Jillian C. York, 6/27/12)
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Tweet With Caution
Social media is profoundly affecting the work of security and law enforcement, even more than the invention of the telephone over a century ago. But law enforcement's involvement in the communications revolution carries risks as well as rewards. A leaked cache of emails allegedly belonging to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad indicated that an Assad supporter posted pro-regime commentary under an assumed Facebook identity that was mistaken as genuine and given international coverage by CNN.
See the full article (Foreign Policy, Jamie Bartlett and Carl Miller, 6/26/12)
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Director of National Intelligence Expected to Roll Out New Measures Against Leaks
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is expected to roll out new measures aimed at ending leaks of classified information after a spate of recent leaks. Those leaks affected an ongoing intelligence operation against the al Qaeda arm in Yemen back in May, and included recent disclosures about the classified drone program and a cyber warfare program known as Stuxnet, aimed at an Iranian nuclear enrichment facility.
See the full article (CNN, Suzanne Kelly, 6/25/12)
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E-Diplomacy Map Shows Which Leaders Talk to Each Other on Twitter
A neat interactive online tool, called E-Diplomacy, shows which countries follow which others, how much social discussion is going on between various countries, diplomats, and world thinkers. At least at the margin, these forces can bolster an "offline" movement by women and men in the streets. There is a further question, one that the post-revolt states in North Africa or now facing: can social media help build democracy after the fact? Can 'followers' and 'friends' generate new leaders?
See the full article (Ars Technica, Cyrus Farivar, 6/23/12)
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Jihadists' Twitter Presence Becomes More Sophisticated
Jihadists and their sympathisers' presence on Twitter is limited, rather sophisticated and increasing. That's what I found after spending more than a month-and-a-half following their tweets. By the end of May, Shabakat Ansar al-Mujahideen had announced its presence on Twitter. The web forum is a famous site that disseminates jihadist propaganda and serves as a means of communication for jihadist sympathisers.The Taliban in Afghanistan and al-Shabab in Somalia also have a strong presence on the site.
See the full article (BBC, Murad Batal al-Shishani, 6/21/12)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"African Women Leaders" - Vital Voices
Women leaders from Africa discuss women's contributions to the African economy, getting a seat at the political table, and working for human rights.
See the full video
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