USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, December 20, 2012 - January 2, 2013

Please note: This Roundup contains two weeks' worth of highlights due to the Christmas and New Years holidays.

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

**Click here to subscribe to USIP's Science, Technology and Peacebuilding News Roundup.**

Media and Journalism

Egypt Cracks Down on Satirists and Media
An Egyptian satirist who has made fun of President Mohamed Morsi on television will be investigated by prosecutors following an accusation that he undermined the leader's standing. Bassem Youssef's case will likely increase concerns over freedom of speech in the post-Hosni Mubarak era. In a separate case, one of Egypt's leading independent newspapers said it was being investigated by the prosecutor following a complaint from the presidency, which accused it of publishing false news.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, 1/2/13)
Click to read "Middle East in 2013: Promise and (Lots of) Peril" a USIP Peace Brief by Robin Wright and Garrett Nada.
[Return to top]

Press Freedom Group Shocked at Hamas Ban on Gaza Journalists
The ban imposed by Hamas on Palestinian journalists in Gaza from co-operating with the Israeli media has outraged an international press freedom watchdog. The prohibition affects the correspondents of Israeli papers, such as Ma'ariv, and could be extended to the international media. It has already introduced a system of permits to restrict entry by foreign journalists.
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 1/1/13)
[Return to top]

121 Journalists Killed in 2012
More than 120 journalists and media workers have been killed so far in 2012, with the conflict in Syria making it one of the bloodiest in recent years. The IFJ said that Syria was the most dangerous country in the world for media personnel this year, with 35 fatalities recorded. It was followed by Somalia, which the IFJ called a "media killing field" with 18. Organised crime in Mexico and insurgents in Pakistan led to 10 journalist deaths in each country, making them joint third.
See the full article (Guardian, Mark Sweeney, 12/31/12)
[Return to top]

China Moves Cautiously on Foreign Media, But Signals Tighter Internet Control
Chinese citizens were treated this year to an unaccustomed number of hard-hitting exposés and investigations detailing the private lives and corrupt financial dealings of the most senior Communist Party officials and their family members. Most of the reports have come from what one media expert here called "the two W's," meaning Western media and weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter.
See the full article (Washington Post, Keith B. Richburg, 12/29/12)
[Return to top]

Myanmar To Allow Daily Private Newspapers For First Time Since 1964
Myanmar said Friday it will allow private daily newspapers starting in April for the first time since 1964, in the latest step toward allowing freedom of expression in the long-repressed nation. The move was an expected part of new press freedoms President Thein Sein has introduced as part of wider democratic reforms since taking office last year, after a half-century of military rule.
See the full article (AP, Aye Aye Win, 12/28/12)
[Return to top]

Turkish Journalist Accused of Terrorist Plot Is Freed Pending Trial
A court in Istanbul released Soner Yalcin, a prominent journalist, from prison on Thursday after he had spent nearly two years behind bars, charged with plotting to overthrow the government with 12 other defendants. Mr. Yalcin, the owner and editor of OdaTV, a news portal critical of the government, and 12 co-defendants are accused of acting as the media wing of what prosecutors call a terrorist network that aimed to topple the governing Justice and Development Party.
See the full article (New York Times, Sebnem Arsu, 12/27/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
[Return to top]

A Year That Saw Challenges To The Boundaries Of Free Speech
Do I have the right to insult your religion? It was a question that made headlines this year, from the trial of Pussy Riot in Russia to protests in the Muslim world over a film deemed insulting to the Prophet Muhammad. The film "Innocence of Muslims" is the latest chapter in a history of tensions that includes the riots over the Muhammad cartoons in 2005 and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's 1989 death fatwa for Salman Rushdie.
See the full article (RFE/RL, Charles Recknagel, 12/24/12)
[Return to top]

Israeli Attacks on Media in Gaza 'Unlawful'
Israel violated international laws by targeting media in Gaza during the November 2012 conflict, US-based non-governmental organisation Human Rights Watch has said. During the eight day conflict, the Israeli army targeted media personnel and offices of al Aqsa TV, al Quds Educational Radio, Quds TV, and Alwan Radio. The Israeli government has consistently defended the attacks by stating that the attacks were on legitimate military targets.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, 12/20/12)
[Return to top]

Journalist Austin Tice's Family Pleads to Have Him Home for Christmas After Capture in Syria
The family of American freelance journalist Austin Tice, who was taken captive in August while covering the Syrian civil war, appealed Thursday for his release, saying loved ones yearn to have him home for the holidays. Tice was taken hostage as he was leaving Syria, where he had been reporting for The Washington Post and McClatchy Newspapers. Tice crossed into Syria without authorization from the government in May and spent time with rebels in the north before traveling to Damascus in July.
See the full article (Washington Post, Ernesto Londoño, 12/20/12)
[Return to top]


Internet and Social Media

Is It Authentic? When Citizens and Soldiers Document War
In November, one video caught the attention of international observers, news outlets, and criminal prosecutors. It's the type of video whose images have altered the discussion on the Syrian conflict, and may also revolutionize the role of citizen video in times of war. The video spread quickly, thanks to a Syrian human rights organization that associated the footage with a reported killing of 28 government soldiers by rebel battalions in the area.
See the full article (PBS, Madeleine Bair, 1/2/13)
Click to read "Social Media and Conflict Prevention," a USIP On the Issues by Sheldon Himelfarb.
[Return to top] | [Return to section]

Google's Eric Schmidt to Visit North Korea on Private Trip
Eric Schmidt, Google's ambassador in chief, is going where few Internet executives have gone: North Korea. Google's executive chairman will take part in a private trip led by former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. North Korea does not have diplomatic relations with the United States, and it has some of the tightest restrictions of any country on citizens' access to the Internet. But Richardson has long sought to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula. And Schmidt has become a vocal advocate for Internet freedom.
See the full article (Los Angeles Times, 1/2/13)
[Return to top] | [Return to section]

Pakistan Briefly Lifts Block on YouTube
Pakistan lifted its block on YouTube - but only for a few hours. The ban was imposed in September 2012 following violent protests in the country and around the world over an anti-Islam video on the website. YouTube was unblocked on 29 December following government work on a filtering system designed to stop people seeing blasphemous material. However, when the filter proved ineffective the Pakistan government re-imposed its blanket ban on the site.
See the full article (BBC, 12/31/12)
[Return to top] | [Return to section]

Let's Build Pro-Democracy Twitter Bots
During the Cold War, Western diplomats smuggled fax machines to the democracy advocates behind the Iron Curtain. For a while now, we've been sending satellite phones to activists leaders who need help organizing supporters. But we aren't yet taking advantage of Twitter robots. Let's put those tools to work promoting democratic values, expanding the news diets of people in other countries, and critiquing tough dictators.
See the full article (Slate, Philip N. Howard, 12/31/12)
[Return to top] | [Return to section]

How Innovators Want to Transform African Media
Ideas for spurring data-driven journalism, verifying media reports, and creating better tools for investigative and citizen journalism emerged as winners in Africa's first news innovation contest. Several winning projects want to make it easier for citizens to tell what they see and know. For example, citizen reporters will be able to use CorruptionNET on their mobile phones to file reports to newsrooms about corruption or misuse of public resources.
See the full article (PBS, Jennifer Dorroh, 12/26/12)
[Return to top] | [Return to section]

A Network of Dictators
The Internet came very close to being kidnapped last week. Russia and China used the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) to push for government control of the Internet and restrictions on access to information. WCIT was supposed to update an obscure U.N. treaty on international telecommunications, but instead a longstanding fight over control of the Internet to reduce the risks it poses to authoritarian regimes came to a head.
See the full article (Foreign Policy, James A. Lewis, 12/21/12)
[Return to top] | [Return to section]


What's New from PeaceMedia

"Peacebuilding Online Simulation: Tech for Teaching at Columbia" - Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning
Ground|Work is an online simulation developed by the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL) in which users grapple with maintaining the fragile peace in a fictional post-conflict country called Nimpala. Ground|Work is used by students at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in Professor Marc Levy's Environment, Conflict, and Resolution Strategy course to study global conflict and conflict resolution strategies.
See the full video
[Return to top]

Click here to subscribe to USIP's Science, Technology and Peacebuilding News Roundup.

Did we miss anything?



Share this: FacebookDeliciousDiggMySpaceStumbleUponGoogleMicrosoftYahoo! BookmarksLinkedIn| Forward this to a Friend