USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, June 28 - July 4, 2012

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

Media and Journalism

Tunisia Commission Slams Govt over Press Freedom
The commission charged with writing Tunisia's new media laws quit Wednesday, citing the lack of government will to create the institutions for a free press and thereby threatening the freedom of expression in the country. The media scene has been invaded by outlets that ignore existing laws, while the government arbitrarily appoints the heads of state media companies just like the previous regime, the statement said. The new law calls for a system of consultation over media appointments.
See the full article (AP, 7/4/12)
[Return to top]

Sudan Journalists Rally Against Restrictions
More than 100 Sudanese journalists have protested in Khartoum against censorship and other media restrictions amid a government crackdown on unprecedented anti-government demonstrations. Even before the June 16 outbreak of demonstrations, journalists and press freedom advocates said there had been a worsening government attack against critical voices over the past year, with journalists banned from writing, newspapers confiscated after printing, and some ordered to suspend publication.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, 7/4/12)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "South Sudan: Beyond the First Year" on July 9 at 2:00pm.
[Return to top]

How the News Gets Out
Over the 16 months since the uprising against president Bashar Assad began, the press has been largely restricted from getting into or around Syria, now dubbed the most dangerous country in the world for journalists by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. Yet though the war has forced many journalists who used to work in Syria to leave, we can still get a good idea of what is going on.
See the full article (Economist, 7/2/12)
[Return to top]

Witnesses to War
During the eight years that Michael Kamber covered the Iraq war, he often had lengthy late-night conversations with his fellow conflict photographers. Whether it was in Baghdad or on shared embeds, the discussion usually turned to a mutual frustration that Americans were not getting a full view of the war. Mr. Kamber has collected 39 of his fellow photojournalists' accounts and unpublished images in a book, "Photojournalists on War."
See the full article (New York Times, 7/2/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
[Return to top]

New Afghan Law Ignites Fear over Shrinking Press Freedoms
Afghan journalists are locked in a row with their government over media freedoms, in what appears to be the latest attempt by authorities to appeal to the more conservative side of society ahead of the pullout of most foreign troops. A revised media law looks to significantly tighten the government's grip over the fledgling but lively Afghan press corps, and limit foreign programming in a move likely to please the Taliban, with whom Kabul is seeking peace negotiations.
See the full article (Reuters, Amie Ferris-Rotman, 7/1/12)
[Return to top]

US Asks Sri Lanka to Stop 'Harassing' Media
The United States Saturday joined rights groups in demanding that Sri Lanka stop "harassing" media organisations, a day after police shut down opposition news websites and arrested nine employees. The US embassy in Colombo said it was closely following Colombo's shutting down of the websites and the arrest of employees, including several journalists who had been highly critical of Sri Lanka's government.
See the full article (AFP, Amal Jayasinghe, 6/30/12)
[Return to top]

The Global War on Journalists
On Sunday, gangs of men sexually assaulted British freelance journalist Natasha Smith in Tahrir Square as crowds celebrated the results of Egypt's presidential election. On Wednesday, Syrian rebels attacked a pro-government television station and executed three to seven employees. And later that day, a court in Ethiopia convicted prominent journalist Eskinder Nega of being a member of a secret plot to overthrow the government. The theme of all the attacks? Journalists being demonized as spies, government agents, or terrorists.
See the full article (Atlantic, Rohde, 6/29/12)
[Return to top]

Blow to Press Freedom as Ethiopia Convicts 24 of Plotting Rebellion
Human rights groups have condemned the conviction of 24 Ethiopians, including a prominent journalist, on charges of conspiring with rebels to overthrow the government. The case, the third terrorism verdict against journalists in six months, underlined concerns of growing repression under Meles Zenawi, the prime minister. Judge Endeshaw Adane ruled in court on Wednesday that the defendants' main aim had been to spark an Arab spring-style revolt in the country.
See the full article (Guardian, David Smith, 6/28/12)
[Return to top]


Internet and Social Media

Somali Refugees Turned into Twitter Scapegoats after Kenya Terror Attack
It's no secret that the Somali community in Kenya is often treated with resentment and suspicion by their hosts. But relations hit a new low this week when the spokesman of President Mwai Kibaki's party took to Twitter to start a campaign to move Somali refugees back to Somalia in violation of international law. As Kenya reels from its worst terrorist attack in years, Moses Kuria of the Party for National Unity is trying to get the hashtag #MoveDadaabtoKismayo trending.
See the full article (Reuters, Katy Migiro, 7/2/12)
[Return to top] | [Return to section]

Eric Schmidt on Technology vs. Dictatorship
It's been year-and-a-half since the outset of the Arab revolutions that brought down Zine el Abidine Ben Ali's longstanding regime in Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak's in Egypt; three years since the beginning of the Iranian election protests of 2009-2010; and more than three years since the start of civil unrest in Moldova, where protestors' self-organizing via Twitter earned it the media tag "the Twitter Revolution." But the significance of [smart phones and social media] to democratization is still a matter of debate.
See the full article (Atlantic, J.J. Gould, 6/30/12)
Click to read "Egypt, Elections and the Fate of the Transition," a USIP On the Issues by Daniel Brumberg.
[Return to top] | [Return to section]

Syria: A War Reported By Citizen-Journalists, Social Media
Assad has all but barred the international media from providing on-the-ground coverage of events. In response, hundreds, if not thousands of Syrian activists picked up smart phones to visually document events and report in 140 characters or less about the conflict. This army of self-anointed reporters has uploaded thousands upon thousands of YouTube videos, and used Twitter, Facebook, and Skype in heretofore almost unimagined ways to show the world that their government was committing unspoken atrocities against its own people.
See the full article (RFE/RL, David Arnold, 7/30/12)
[Return to top] | [Return to section]

U.S. Urges China to Respect Internet Freedom after Bloomberg Web Site is Censored
American officials urged China on Friday not to censor its Internet after the government blocked access to the Bloomberg News Web site. The Chinese government had denied Web access to the financial news agency after an investigative article on massive wealth amassed by relatives of Xi Jinping, the man expected to become China's president. Chinese officials have ratcheted up repression of dissidents and journalists ahead of this year's scheduled top leadership changes.
See the full article (Washington Post, William Wan and Keith Richburg, 6/29/12)
[Return to top] | [Return to section]

A Facebook Page That Iran's Authorities Don't 'Like'
A young asylum seeker in Holland says authorities in Iran are retaliating against his family over his contributions to a Facebook page that satirizes a Shi'ite imam. Twenty-five-year-old Yashar Khameneh says that due to his online activities, his father has been jailed and threatened with execution. The Persian-language page, called "The Campaign to Remind Shi'ites about Imam Naghi," satirizes political and religious topics. Khameneh insists he's not in charge of the page.
See the full article (RFE/RL, Golnaz Esfandiari, 6/28/12)
[Return to top] | [Return to section]


What's New from PeaceMedia

"Arms for Arms" - UN in Action
The Arms for Arms program is a unique recycling project, one that turns decommissioned weapons into prosthetic limbs for victims of conflict. This video tells the story of Elba Garcia, a Nicaraguan woman who lost an arm when she was caught in crossfire between Sandinistas and Contras.
See the full video
[Return to top]

Did we miss anything?



Share this: FacebookDeliciousDiggMySpaceStumbleUponGoogleMicrosoftYahoo! BookmarksLinkedIn| Forward this to a Friend