USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, August 23 - 29, 2012

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

Media and Journalism

Post Arab Revolutions: TV Challenges Stereotypes, Pushes New Frontiers
Syrian soap operas that once united a country now are a "casualty of war." One soap harked back to Sultan Saladin, a 12th century hero who defeated the Crusaders and liberated Jerusalem. This soap thinly disguised the Crusaders as Americans and Israelis -- both manipulative and unacceptable. Arab media expert Omar Adam Sayfo, however, makes a key point: even propaganda infused historical soaps united diverse viewers -- Druse, Christian, Sunni or Alawite.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Shahnaz Taplin-Chinoy, 8/29/12)
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Drug War Takes Horrifying Toll on Mexican Journalists
There have been many consequences of the War on Drugs. One has been the explosion of violence in Mexico. For journalists, the war has been particularly vicious. It's not hard to see why journalists have become such a target. Journalists always become a target in one way or another - their job, after all, is often to uncover things people don't want uncovered. In Mexico, though, the reprisals have been spectacularly brutal.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Jack Mirkinson, 8/28/12)
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Mapping the Rise of Violence Against Journalists in Afghanistan
New reports gathered by Internews and their on-the-ground partner Nai show that 2011 had the most incidents of violence against journalists in Afghanistan yet, with local news and TV networks experiencing the worst of it. Last year there were 72 cases of violence against journalists, with Kabul being the hardest hit. The reports collected by the Internews and Nai team show the emergence of regional trends of violence.
See the full article (PBS, David Cole, 8/27/12)
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Captured Turkish Journalist Appears on Syrian TV
A Turkish cameraman who went missing while reporting from Syria appeared on Monday in an interview with a pro-government Syrian television channel and said he had been seized by Syrian soldiers in the northern city of Aleppo. Cuneyt Unal, a journalist of 17 years who currently works for the U.S.-funded al-Hurra television channel, describes his journey from the Turkish border to Aleppo with rebels who are fighting troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
See the full article (Reuters, Jonathon Burch, 8/27/12)
Click to read "'The Day After' Project" a USIP News Feature.
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Arabic Language TV and Covering Syria
In Foreign Policy, political commentator Sultan Al Qassemi made the case that Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya are, for political reasons, misrepresenting the reality on the ground in Syria. [On the Media] speaks with Qassemi, who outlines what he sees as the problems with the coverage of the region's most important news sources.
See the full article (NPR, 8/24/12)
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Egypt's President Issues Law Cancelling Pre-trial Detention of Chief Editor Accused of Insult
Egypt's president intervened to release a newspaper editor jailed over accusations of insulting him on Thursday, issuing a law for the first time since he assumed legislative powers earlier this month. President Mohammed Morsi's ban on detention for journalists accused of publishing-related offenses overrides a court decision earlier in the day ordering newspaper editor Islam Afifi to remain in prison pending trial in September.
See the full article (AP, 8/23/12)
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Who is Behind Iran's 'Dangerous' Satellite Jamming?
That's the question people have been asking in the Islamic republic in recent days. While officials have acknowledged that signal jamming is taking place, and even warned of potentially negative consequences, no one in the government has stepped up to assume responsibility. It routinely jams the signal of international broadcasters, including BBC's Persian TV and RFE/RL's Persian Service, Radio Farda, in an attempt to prevent media coverage critical of Tehran from reaching Iranians.
See the full article (RFE/RL, Golnaz Esfandiari, 8/23/12)
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Internet and Social Media

India, Twitter Wrestle over Limits of Free Speech
Where do you draw the line on free speech when extremists use social media to spread rumors that send thousands of people fleeing their homes in panic? And what about when political activists impersonate the prime minister on social media to put out offensive material to ridicule him? Those are the questions India has faced in recent weeks as the world's largest democracy finds itself wrestling with what to do with Twitter -- the world's loudest public megaphone.
See the full article (RFE/RL, Charles Recknagel, 8/28/12)
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Facebook Israel-Arab Youth Group Has Rare Meeting
A Facebook-based movement for Mideast youth says the group has held its first gathering, bringing young activists from Israel and Arab countries to Germany to promote peace. Meetings between Israelis and citizens of Arab nations are rare. Except for Egypt and the Palestinians, none of those represented have diplomatic ties with Israel. Nimrod Ben-Zeev of the YaLa-Young Leaders group said the movement wants to empower Middle Eastern youths to work together to improve their communities.
See the full article (AP, 8/28/12)
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Amnesty International Web Site Hacked by Supporters of Syrian Government
Supporters of the Syrian government hacked the Web site of Amnesty International, posting items that falsely accused the rebels of a string of atrocities. The sophisticated cyberattack, which occurred Monday, was similar to the targeting this month of blogs operated by Reuters news service. According to Amnesty officials, social-media users began posting false items accusing the Syrian rebels of committing massacres that had been linked to government forces.
See the full article (Washington Post, James Ball, 8/28/12)
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U.S. Embraces Arms Control by Social Media
The U.S. State Department is now banking on the possibility that the rise of social media may offer a new means of monitoring for arms-control violations. Imagine an army of sensors made up of ordinary citizens willing, in theory, to keep their governments in check and prove they aren't violating arms-control treaties. That's the concept behind the State Department's "innovation in arms control challenge."
See the full article (Popular Mechanics, Sharon Weinberger, 8/28/12)
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New Africa: the Kenyan Internet Nerd Reshaping a Nation
In 2008, when political and ethnic violence broke out in Kenya after disputed elections, [Juliana] Rotich and a group of friends created a website, called Ushahidi, that used updates from ordinary people, via emails and text messages, and plotted these on an interactive map. Throughout the conflict and its aftermath, it helped to document the scale of the violence, despite the attempts of politicians to play it down.
See the full article (Guardian, Ally Carnwath, 8/26/12)
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With WikiLeaks on Ice, What Has Happened to All Those Digital Whistleblowers?
Journalists expected bounties, some activists expected regimes to fall, and openness advocates looked to a brave new world where the power of the leak would keep governments and corporations in check. But it never quite happened like that. Many of the digital-whistleblowing projects, the WikiLeaks clones, are either dead or dormant and efforts to create secure and anonymous dropboxes have floundered.
See the full article (RFE/RL, Luke Allnutt, 8/24/12)
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The Retreat of the State and Social Media; A New Problem for South Asia
Very roughly, violence in Myanmar in June between Buddhist Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya was followed by the circulation on social media in Pakistan of doctored images which played up the alleged "slaughter" of Muslims. India has asked Pakistan, where it says many of the doctored images originated, to help track down their source. It is also blocking websites posting inflammatory content, in a crackdown which may end up curbing Internet freedom.
See the full article (Reuters, Myra MacDonald, 8/23/12)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"Women, Peace and Security" - NATO
Representatives of the UN, EU, OSCE and many NGOs met at NATO headquarters in Brussels for a workshop on the lessons learned from implementing the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. Adopted in October 2000, this resolution recognizes the disproportionate impact war and conflicts have on women and children. It calls for full and equal participation of women at all levels in issues ranging from early conflict prevention to post-conflict reconstruction, peace and security.
See the full video
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