USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, September 13 - 19, 2012

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

Video Incitement and Protests in the Muslim World

What's New from PeaceMedia

Media and Journalism

Somali Journalists Under Fire Despite Mogadishu Peace Dividend
They get death threats, they need armed escorts and they never take the same route twice - Somali journalists reporting on events in their largely lawless country have to take extreme measures to survive. The scene of near unremitting conflict for the last 20 years, Somalia has made headlines as the scene of suicide bombings, street battles and pirate attacks on shipping.
See the full article (Reuters, Yara Bayoumy, 9/19/12)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Whither Somalia?" on October 1 at 2:00pm.
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French Magazine Runs Cartoons That Mock Muhammad
A French satirical magazine on Wednesday published a series of cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad, setting off a new wave of outrage among Muslims and condemnation from French leaders amid widening unrest over an amateur video that has provoked violence throughout the Islamic world. Religious and political leaders in majority Muslim nations also denounced the cartoons but called for calm.
See the full article (New York Times, Nicola Clark and Scott Sayare, 9/19/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Pakistan Journalists' Choice: Face Death, or Jail
The telephone call to local journalists generally comes in the late evening. The voice on the other end is harsh. He has a statement he wants printed, and he prefaces it with a terse order: "Report our messages without making any changes or we will kill you." The calls come from Sunni militants or members of secessionist groups in the southwestern Pakistani province of Baluchistan.
See the full article (AP, Kathy Gannon, 9/17/12)
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Ivory Coast: Newspapers Stopped
Ivory Coast's press council has suspended all six newspapers allied with former President Laurent Gbagbo for up to two weeks for publishing content deemed "contrary to national reconciliation." During Mr. Gbagbo's 10-year rule, newspapers that were allied with Mr. Ouattara, then the opposition leader, were frequently harassed. Many had hoped that when Mr. Ouattara came to power the intimidation of the news media would stop.
See the full article (AP, 9/14/12)
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Erdogan Tells Turkish Journalists: Don't Cover Conflict with Kurds
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey is known to lash out publicly at journalists of whose coverage he disapproves. He has called on media owners and editors to discipline reporters and columnists critical of his policies, particularly when it comes to the sensitive Kurdish issue. But Erdogan's most recent televised message to the media crosses from reprimanding into directly instructing journalists to stop covering the long-standing conflict between the Turkish Armed Forces and the outlawed PKK.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Özgür Ogret and Nina Ognianova, 9/14/12)
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A Long View of Afghanistan's Wars
Both Afghanistan's current throes and any educated guess about its future can only be appreciated by considering not just the course of the American-led occupation but three other distinct periods over the past quarter-century as well. Illustrating the arc of all four is the accomplishment of "A Distant War," a new book-length project by Bob Nickelsberg, one of the region's longest-serving photojournalists.
See the full article (New York Times, Richard Oppel, 9/13/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
Click to read "Lessons from Afghanistan's History for the Current Transition and Beyond," a USIP On the Issues by William Byrd.
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Another Murder on the Resource Frontier - This Time a Journalist in Cambodia
Speaking truth to power is never easy. In some places, particularly where valuable resources are pursued in places with limited governance, it can be deadly. That has been the case off and on in the Amazon rain forest. Now fresh blood appears to have been spilled in the fight over forest resources, this time that of a Cambodian journalist trying to report on forest clearing there.
See the full article (New York Times, Andrew Revkin, 9/13/12)
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Internet and Social Media

As Burma Opens, Vietnam Clamps Down on Critiques by Bloggers
It is a sign of the times that a journalist in Burma is writing about a freedom of expression clampdown in a neighboring country. With around 80 political prisoners freed in another amnesty on September 17 and with new Information Minister Aung Kyi announcing that the recently formed country's press council would be liberalized, Burma is bit by bit shedding the vestiges of authoritarianism that once made the country's military rulers notorious. In communist-ruled Vietnam, however, the old order is holding out.
See the full article (PBS, Simon Roughneen, 9/19/12)
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Jordan's King Endorses Controversial Media Law That Could Stifle Online Expression
Jordan's king has endorsed a controversial new media law that critics say could severely stifle online expression. The law requires 400 news websites operated by Jordanians to register with the government and obtain licenses. It also gives authorities the power to block and censor the sites, and holds publishers and editors liable for posted comments.
See the full article (AP, 9/18/12)
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The Lady and the Tweet
The stories of Suu Kyi and a new wave of celebrated dissidents offer one way to motivate new activists to press for human rights change amid the complexities and tradeoffs of a global politics in which no governments are blame-free. These individuals are inspiring a rising generation to use the tools and devices they know best to mobilize a powerful human rights constituency for the 21st century.
See the full article (Foreign Policy, Suzanne Nossel, 9/18/12)
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Somalis Make a Twitter Election Connection
Somali citizens are not yet able to vote for their own president for security and political reasons. Al-Shabaab fighters still control larges swathes of the country, and the United Nations continues to play a major role in the country's affairs. [But] the combination of Somali TV live streaming the election, and the real-time status updates of concerned Somalis in the diaspora longing for a better and peaceful country, showed the power of social media and how an online community can put the latest tools to work.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, Mukhtar Ibrahim, 9/14/12)
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Video Incitement and Protests in the Muslim World

Free Speech in the Muslim World? Ask the Egyptian TV Station That First Aired the Anti-Islam Movie
For all the damage that mobs and armed groups have done in majority-Muslim nations in the past week, there is one target that they missed. The mobs in Cairo, one of many cities where protests followed the Innocence of Muslims video ridiculing the Prophet Muhammed, overlooked the Egyptian TV station that had actually broadcast it, Al Nas TV. Egyptian prosecutors have now issued arrest warrants for eight people in the United States with connections to the film -- but they, too, overlooked the TV station.
See the full article (Atlantic, Steve Inskeep, 9/19/12)
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Egypt Charges Coptic Christians Linked to Infamous Video
Egyptian authorities have charged seven Coptic Christians living in the United States and a Florida pastor with insulting Islam and inciting sectarian strife for their alleged links to an online video that has enraged much of the Muslim world. Reports that [filmmaker Nakoula Basseley] Nakoula is a Coptic Christian have raised concern about a possible backlash against the minority religious group in Egypt, where tensions between Copts and Muslims have risen recently.
See the full article (CNN, Ed Payne and Saad Abedine, 9/18/12)
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On Web, a Fine Line on Free Speech Across the Globe
For Google last week, the decision was clear. An anti-Islamic video that provoked violence worldwide was not hate speech under its rules because it did not specifically incite violence against Muslims, even if it mocked their faith. The White House was not so sure, and it asked Google to reconsider the determination, a request the company rebuffed. Although the administration's request was unusual, for Google, it represented the kind of delicate balancing act that Internet companies confront every day.
See the full article (New York Times, Somini Sengupta, 9/16/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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More Countries Push to Block YouTube Over Anti-Islam Video
In countries where YouTube has yet to block the video, some governments are doing it for them by shutting down YouTube entirely.The Pakistani prime minister ordered Monday that the website be blocked until the "blasphemous material" was removed. Russian communications chief Nikolai Nikiforov warned Monday on Twitter that the country also could take that step. Saudi Arabia has also asked Google to "veil all YouTube links containing the film."
See the full article (Los Angeles Times, Emily Alpert, 9/18/12)
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Peace Be Upon You
Dear Muslims, Christians, Hindus, and Jews: You're living in the age of the Internet. Your religion will be mocked, and the mockery will find its way to you. Get over it. If you don't, what's happening this week will happen again and again. A couple of idiots with a video camera and an Internet connection will trigger riots across the globe. They'll bait you into killing one another. Stop it. Stop following their script.
See the full article (Slate, William Saletan, 9/14/12)
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How a 14-Minute Video Can Trigger Violence Abroad
One of the more perplexing questions that still remains on the protests gripping the Arab world this week is how, exactly, some shoddy, contrived, melodramatic footage disdainful of Muhammad came to stand as proxy for U.S. opinion on Islam writ large. Whether or not this Innocence of Muslims is simply a pawn, as is seeming quite possible, there's a striking theme that's coming out of the high-level debate over its existence.
See the full article (Atlantic, Nancy Scol, 9/14/12)
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Lupe Fiasco Counters Anti-Islam Video
As news broke of demonstrations over an alleged US-made film said to insult Islam, rapper and activist Lupe Fiasco tweeted his take on the violent protests that followed. Lupe called for fellow Muslims to counter claims about their religion made in the video called Innocence of Muslims. He encouraged others to tweet about what the Prophet Muhammad means to them. The hashtag #MuhammadShowedMe quickly went viral, receiving almost 15,000 mentions in just two days.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, 9/13/12)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability" - TEDxHouston
The root of conflict is hating the Other. Brené Brown studies human connection -- our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk at TEDxHouston, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity.
See the full video
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