USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, November 29 - December 5, 2012

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

Images of Independence, Finally Free
The photographs were shockingly graphic, detailing the torture and execution of men suspected of collaborating with pro-Pakistani militias during Bangladesh's 1971 war for independence. Featured on front pages and magazine covers around the world, they provoked outrage and won awards. Though [Rashid Talukder] also made dramatic images, he did not publish them. He couldn't. Mr. Talukder knew that - unlike the foreign photographers - he would not leave Bangladesh and dash to the next overseas hot spot. He would be staying. And the men behind the executions were among the most powerful in the country.
See the full article (New York Times, James Estrin, 12/5/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Egypt Press Refuses to Print to Protest 'Tyranny'
Egyptian independent and opposition newspapers refused to publish their Tuesday editions in protest against lack of press freedom in the country's draft constitution, set for a popular referendum on December 15. The decree gave Morsi new sweeping powers, placing his decisions and the Islamist-dominated constituent assembly, which drafted the charter, beyond judicial oversight. The charter has raised human rights concerns, including over freedom of expression.
See the full article (AFP, 12/4/12)
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How the Taliban Turned Against Pakistan's Right-Wing Journalists
Pakistan has announced a reward of 50 million rupees (approximately $520,000) for anyone with information about people involved in a failed plot to assassinate a renowned television journalist last week in Islamabad, the nation's capital. [Hamid] Mir's case, on its part, merits special attention because it reflects the new dynamics of a worsening relationship between the Pakistani State, the press and the non-state actors.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Malik Siraj Akbar, 12/4/12)
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Ecuador's President Receives Free Speech Award
The Committee to Protect Journalists may believe that "freedom of expression is under siege in Ecuador," and Freedom House may give Ecuador poor marks for press freedom, but Argentina's Universidad Nacional de La Plata apparently disagrees. On Tuesday, the university awarded Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa the Rodolfo Walsh Prize for battling the "hegemonic will that tries to restrict speech" and for enabling the "poor and marginalized sectors of society" to express themselves.
See the full article (Foreign Policy, Uri Friedman, 12/4/12)
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Being There
Like the truly committed diplomat, the truly committed foreign correspondent is something of an endangered species. News organizations began their retreat from the world long ago, driven by economics and a wrongheaded belief that Americans don't care that much about foreign news. They give us spurts of coverage when an Arab Spring breaks out or Hamas fires rockets into Israel, but much less of the ongoing attention that would equip us to see crises coming and understand them when they erupt.
See the full article (New York Times, Bill Keller, 12/2/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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The Last Censor of Myanmar
When Barack Obama became the first serving president to visit Myanmar (or Burma),which just a few months ago was a Southeast Asian pariah nation uttered in the same breath as North Korea and Iran, he found a country newly and seriously changed. Protests, most kinds of speech and freedom of the press are allowed for the first time in over 40 years. Reporter Gabrielle Paluch reports from Yangon on how the end of censorship has affected journalists, novelists, musicians and the country's (hopefully) last censor.
See the full article (NPR, 11/30/12)
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Internet and Social Media

How Bahrain Lost the Propaganda War
While some commentators have recently been ringing the death knell of the Bahrain uprising, there is one place where the Bahraini government and their apologists have entirely failed to impose their authority: online. Given the recent complete banning of public protest in Bahrain, online dissent has become increasingly important to a revolution that refuses to go away.
See the full article (Huffington Post, John Lubbock, 12/4/12)
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Senate Foreign Affairs Subcommittee Hearing to use Google Plus's Hangout Feature
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee's subpanel on African affairs is going high-tech during a hearing on Wednesday by using Google's video chat feature, Hangout, to let a representative from a non-governmental organization based in Mali testify before lawmakers. The subpanel's hearing will examine al Qaeda's growing presence in northern Mali and how the United States is handling the terrorist group's expansion into the region.
See the full article (The Hill, Jennifer Martinez, 12/4/12)
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Human Rights Day: How Social Video Changes the Game for Advocacy and Accountability
Durable protection of human rights requires institutional frameworks and the rule of law. But with the rise of social media -- together with cameras now standard in mobile devices -- citizens are gaining tools to bring abuses of power to public attention and demand accountability. Visual imagery has a long history of documenting conflict and influencing public opinion, from photos taken on U.S. Civil War battlefields to last month's footage of rebel fighting in Syria.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Camille Crittenden, 12/4/12)
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Ambassador Susan Rice: On Using Social Media For Diplomacy
U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice's name has been in the news lately, so we thought it would be a good time to post her appearance from the 2012 Social Good Summit where she spoke with Mashable CEO Pete Cashmore. In this clip, Ambassador Rice admits to originally being a skeptic about Twitter, but how she was "so wrong" and is now really into it as a "whole different way of connecting with a completely different set of people and voices around the world.
See the full article (Huffington Post, 12/3/12)
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Syria Deeply Outsmarts The News, Redefines Conflict Coverage
Today, a new website about the Syrian conflict launches, one that aims to not only provide comprehensive coverage of the Syrian conflict but to disrupt the design and business of news. Syria Deeply is a "story monitor" and "news dashboard" dedicated to reporting on a single beat, a redefinition of the "beat" focused on covering one continuous, chaotic storyline and the communities involved, rather than covering a broad topic or genre.
See the full article (Fast Company, Anjali Mullany, 12/3/12)
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Internet Hangs in Balance as World Governments Meet in Secret
There's a lot of sky-is-falling doomsday predictions about the World Conference on International Telecommunications, which opens Monday in Dubai with some 190-plus nations discussing the global internet's future. But the outcome of the two-week session isn't likely to make much change, as no proposal will be accepted if not agreed to by all nations. And the biggest fear - that the session will lead to net censorship - has already come to pass.
See the full article (Wired, David Kravets, 12/3/12)
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Philippines Makes Peace through Technology
Some countries have used digital technology as a means to bring about revolution. In the Philippines they are using new technologies to end it. More than 6,000 young Filipino Muslims and Christians from opposing sides of a 40-year conflict are to come together in a mass videoconference on Wednesday, some in Manila and others in Iligan City 500 miles away, in an attempt to start treating their adversaries as real people rather than faceless stereotypes.
See the full article (Guardian, Sunshine Lichauco de Leon, 12/3/12)
Click to read "A Diplomatic Milestone for Mindanao?" a USIP Peace Brief by Jennifer M. Keister.
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Disruptions: Silencing the Voices of Militants on Twitter
Twitter, perhaps more than any other social media outlet, has become one of the most powerful tools to promote democracy in the Middle East. The service, which helped Arab Spring protesters in their drive for a new order in the region, is now under attack over aiding and abetting terrorist organizations. Along with six other Republican lawmakers, Representative Ted Poe sent a letter to the F.B.I., demanding that Twitter ban Hamas and Hezbollah.
See the full article (New York Times, Nick Bilton, 12/2/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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What's Your Country's Risk of Internet Blackout?
What happened in Syria this week -- a wholesale disconnection from the Internet -- could happen anywhere. But it's more likely to happen in some countries than others. The web services firm Renesys often analyzes that risk -- for, say, companies that are deciding which countries might make good hosts for data centers. The most common risk factor, unsurprisingly, is centralization.
See the full article (Mashable, 12/2/12)
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Syria Internet Access Restored After Two-day Blackout
Internet and telephone services have been restored in most parts of Syria following a two-day, nationwide communications blackout. Authorities had attributed the latest outage to a "terrorist" attack or a technical fault, but President Bashar al-Assad's government has previously been accused of cutting internet and telephone connections to sabotage communication between opposition activists.
See the full article (Guardian, Johnny McDevitt, 12/1/12)
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Head of Tehran's Cybercrimes Unit Is Fired Over Death of Blogger
Iranian's national police chief fired the commander of Tehran's cybercrimes police unit on Saturday for negligence in the death of a blogger in prison. The dismissal of the commander, Gen. Saeed Shokrian, follows investigations by Parliament and Iran's judiciary into the unexplained death of the blogger, Sattar Beheshti, 35, who died in early November just a few days after being arrested by the cybercrimes police unit, known here as FATA.
See the full article (New York Times, Thomas Erdbrink, 12/1/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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For Syria's Rebel Movement, Skype Is a Useful and Increasingly Dangerous Tool
In a demonstration of their growing sophistication and organization, Syrian rebels responded to a nationwide shutdown of the Internet by turning to satellite technology to coordinate within the country and to communicate with outside activists. Having dealt with periodic outages for more than a year, the opposition had anticipated a full shutdown of Syria's Internet service providers.
See the full article (New York Times, Amy Chozick, 11/30/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"One Billion Rising"
One in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. One billion women violated is an atrocity. One billion women dancing is a revolution. Watch this short film about the "One Billion Rising" initiative.
See the full video
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