USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, July 19 - 25, 2012

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

Media and Journalism

Libyan Authorities Allow Arrested Journalist to Fly Home to UK
A journalist detained in Libya was allowed to fly home to the UK on Tuesday night after five days of negotiations for her release between embassy staff and the authorities. Sharon Ward, a freelance TV reporter who has worked in Libya for organisations including the BBC and Human Rights Watch, was arrested last Thursday after filming refugees from the former pro-Gaddafi town of Tawarga housed in Tripoli's naval academy.
See the full article (Guardian, Christopher Stephen, 7/25/12)
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Controversial Song Banned in Osh for 'Inciting Ethnic Hatred'
The regional court in Kyrgyzstan's southern province of Osh has banned a controversial rap song because it allegedly incites "ethnic hatred" between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz residents. The song started circulating over the Internet last month, around the second anniversary of the violent clashes between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in Osh. More than 400 people were killed and thousands were displaced in the June, 2010, clashes in Osh and the neighboring region of Jalal-Abad.
See the full article (RFE/RL, 7/25/12)
Click to read "Real Life TV for Real Life Change," a USIP Olive Branch Post by Alexis Toriello.
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More Press Freedom for Burma's Media
Cautious reforms being introduced by Burma's President Thein Sein are freeing up the rigid controls on the media. Although repressive laws remain technically in force, practical guidelines have given print, television and internet journalists considerable leeway to report on everything including controversial political questions. Information Minister Kyaw Hsan says a new media law is being drafted that will abolish censorship and replace it with a self-regulating Press Council.
See the full article (BBC, Lewis Macleod, 7/23/12)
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Liberia's Sirleaf Moves to Boost Press Freedom
Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Monday signed a pledge drawn up by global media rights bodies to boost press freedom and stop the criminal prosecution of journalists. One of the main aims of the declaration is to abolish insult and criminal laws against journalists, who could however still be sued in civil court. She urged the press to establish self-regulating measures and act responsibly, adding some journalists continue to "let the profession down" by failing to meet ethical standards.
See the full article (AFP, 7/23/12)
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Why Reporters are in the Firing Line
It has been a bad year for journalists. Autocrats and anti-democracy forces around the world are learning how to be nimbler and more efficient in suppressing populations, and one way to do this is control of news reporting in spots where abuses are taking place. This is one major reason the world is becoming more dangerous for news reporters - who used to be protected by an unspoken convention that they were above the conflict.
See the full article (Guardian, Naomi Wolf, 7/20/12)
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Internet and Social Media

Syria's Cyberwars: Using Social Media Against Dissent
For years, average Syrians were blocked from Facebook, YouTube and other social media by Bashar al-Assad's repressive police-state government. Early last year, however, as the Arab Spring swept through the region, something odd happened: the social media sites that were pivotal to uprisings in other Arab nations were suddenly switched back on. Now we know why: It's easier to track people - and find out who is against you - if you can monitor computer traffic to such sites.
See the full article(Christian Science Monitor, Mark Clayton, 7/25/12)
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Hillary Clinton Talks #genocideprevention through Social Media
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested Tuesday that potential developments in technology and social media could help prevent genocide in the 21st century. The symposium's two panels discussed the ways the United States could use technology to find and respond to atrocities. But in the high-profile use of social media during the Arab Spring, individuals in volatile political situations used their cellphones, the Internet and social media to highlight violence in their countries.
See the full article (McClatchy, Kaz Komolafe, 7/24/12)
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How a Salesman-Turned-Citizen Journalist Covers Conflict in Syria
Blockades and attacks on foreign journalists in Syria have made real-time information about the conflict more and more scarce. Hussein, a pro-revolution activist who asked not to use his last name for fear of retribution, began taking pictures and videos of the violence and sending them to TV stations, free of charge, filling the void for media footage of the conflict and showing the effects of conflict on daily life in Syria.
See the full article (PBS, Alex Ragir, 7/23/12)
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Turks Turn to Twitter as Erdogan Muzzles Traditional Media
It was more than 12 hours before mainstream media reported the news that Turkey's military had killed 34 of its own civilians in a botched airstrike. By the time the first reports aired, [Serdar] Akinan, a newspaper columnist, had flown to Uludere and was tweeting images of the funerals to his 80,000 followers. With Turkey mulling further curbs on already limited press freedom, Akinan's story illustrates how Twitter is emerging as a powerful tool to bypass - and discredit - the country's muzzled news outlets.
See the full article (Christian Science Monitor, Alexander Christie-Miller, 7/23/12)
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Afghan Social Media War Steps Up with New Campaign
Afghanistan's war by social media has stepped up a notch, with free-speech activists launching a campaign using Twitter and Facebook to fight wide confusion over competing NATO and Taliban claims, as well as looming government media curbs. Foreign troops and insurgents have for years sparred on Twitter over the extent of victories against one another, while Afghan journalists are locked in a row with their government over press freedoms and new media laws.
See the full article (Reuters, Miriam Arghandiwal, 7/22/12)
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How Iran Silences Its Citizens on the Web
Imagine you live in a country where there is heavily restricted access to the Internet. Websites deemed objectionable are blocked. Even when government censors don't directly vet content, writers practice a high degree of self censorship. This is the daily reality for citizens of Iran, where access to the Internet has been limited since the presidential elections in 2009, when Twitter and YouTube users informed the world about what was happening on the ground in Tehran.
See the full article (Mashable, Chris DeVito, 7/23/12)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"An Animated Introduction to the UN's Global Pulse Initiative" - United Nations
Global Pulse is an innovation initiative of the UN Secretary-General, harnessing today's new world of digital data and real-time analytics to gain a better understanding of changes in human well-being.
See the full video
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