USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, December 13 - 19, 2012

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

The Most Dangerous Beat on Earth
Nearly half of all the journalists killed worldwide in 2012 were slain in Syria, including top foreign correspondents like Marie Colvin of the London Times. NBC's Richard Engel and his crew, no strangers to hostile reporting territory, narrowly escaped being hostages of the Syrian regime this week. Is Syria just too hazardous for journalists? We asked four veteran observers of the conflict to tell us what it's like to cover the riskiest beat in the world.
See the full article (Foreign Policy, 12/19/12) *Foreign Policy sign-up may be required to view the full article
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2012 Deadliest Year on Record for Journalists
More journalists were killed doing their job in 2012 than in any year since monitoring started 17 years ago, with Syria and Somalia seeing a particularly heavy toll. Eighty-eight journalists were killed, a third more than last year, as security forces in various conflict zones cracked down on a new crop of citizen journalists attempting to document their activities.
See the full article (Reuters, 12/19/12)
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MEPs Urge Ethiopia to Release Journalist
Sixteen members of the European parliament have called on Ethiopia's prime minster, Hailemariam Desalegn, to free the jailed journalist and blogger Eskinder Nega. He was arrested in 2011 and sentenced in July this year to 18 years in prison under the country's broad anti-terrorism proclamation. He had written online articles and also spoken publicly about the possibility of an Arab spring-like movement taking place in Ethiopia.
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 12/18/12)
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NBC Reporter Describes Captivity in Syria
Richard Engel, the chief foreign correspondent for NBC News, and four colleagues were freed on Monday after five days in captivity in Syria, as my colleagues Brian Stelter and Bill Carter report. According to an NBC report, the men were held captive by members of a pro-government militia known as the Shabiha until Monday, "when their captors ran into a checkpoint manned by members of the Ahrar al-Sham brigade, a Syrian rebel group."
See the full article (New York Times, Robert Mackey, 12/18/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Burma Opens Up to BBC News TV Channel
The BBC is being allowed into Burma, a country renowned for its media censorship. Peter Horrocks, the director of the BBC's global news pointed out that the radio services had been "a vital lifeline service to Aung San Suu Kyi and those across the country." Horrocks believes the situation is likely to change when the BBC, through its charity BBC Media Action, offers training to editors and journalists to teach them about independent journalism.
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 12/18/12)
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Walking a Tightrope: News Media & Freedom of Expression in the Middle East
No entity could be walking a tightrope more than news media in the Middle East following a spate of uprisings, revolutions, regime changes and civil wars over the last two years. Which makes analyzing trends and trying to project where news organizations are heading quite difficult, given fast evolving technologies and applications and a rapidly changing media landscape. But analyze we did -- three women with an interest in how news media are navigating the region's choppy waters.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Magda Abu-Fadil, 12/17/12)
Click to read "Middle East in 2013: Promise and (Lots of) Peril" a USIP Peace Brief by Robin Wright.
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The Scrappy Syrian TV Station Where Reporters File via Facebook and Gchat
Syria's media is almost entirely state-controlled, but through the chaos of the civil war, one scrappy, independent television station has been committed to providing citizens of Aleppo, the country's largest city, with news about every bomb blast and street battle. The editors of Aleppo Today, who are based outside of Syria, are mainly refugees who held other professions before the war.
See the full article (Washington Post, Olga Khazan, 12/13/12)
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Internet and Social Media

How the Middle East Uses Social Media, in Four Charts
During the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011, social media was celebrated as a tool for political discourse and democracy building in the Middle East. Nearly two years later, a new report from the Pew Research Center suggests that faith wasn't misplaced - social media users in Lebanon, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan still take to social media to discuss politics at nearly twice the rate of their Western counterparts.
See the full article (Washington Post, 12/19/12)
Click to read "Social Media and Conflict Prevention," a USIP On the Issues by Sheldon Himelfarb.
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Iran's Supreme Leader Joins 'Zionist' Facebook
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is arguably one of the world's most-wired authoritarian leaders. Already active on microblogging site Twitter, social network Google+, and photo-sharing network Instagram, Iran's supreme leader has now joined Facebook -- which has been blocked by Iranian authorities and demonized as a "Zionist" instrument and a tool of "soft war" against the Islamic republic.
See the full article (RFE/RL, Golnaz Esfandiari, 12/17/12)
Click to read "Social Media's Effects on the 'Fog of War' Call for Careful Analysis," a USIP Olive Branch post by Viola Gienger.
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Instagram Arms Control: WMD Prevention Versus Internet Freedom
We must not take internet freedom for granted and push too hard on "promoting social verification technologies". Few things are as important to long-term strategic interests of the United States and the United Kingdom as preventing the spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and preserving the internet as a secure and uncensored resource for people around the world.
See the full article (AL Jazeera, Eddie Walsh and Mark Jansson, 12/13/12)
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U.S. Rejects Telecommunications Treaty
Talks on a proposed treaty governing international telecommunications collapsed in acrimony on Thursday when the United States rejected the agreement. Nearly two weeks of talks that had often pitted Western governments against Russia, China and developing countries. The East-West and North-South divisions harked back to the cold war, even though that conflict did not stop previous agreements to connect telephone calls across the Iron Curtain.
See the full article (New York Times, Eric Pfanner, 12/13/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"Nanotechnology, Governance and Peace Studies" - University of Bradford
Dr. Jim Whitman, a senior Lecturer in Peace Studies at the Department of Peace Studies in Bradford discusses the implications of scientific advances in the sphere of nanotechnology and the implications of these advances in terms of a convergence of technologies, for peace and governance in the 21st Century.
See the full video
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Happy holidays from USIP's Center of Innovation for Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding!



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