USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, January 3 - 9, 2013

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

Kashmir Incident: Gulf in Indian and Pakistani Media
Reports that two Indian soldiers were killed in an alleged cross-border attack by Pakistani troops in the disputed territory of Kashmir have been the top story in Indian media since late on 8 January. TV talk shows debated ties between the two countries while newspaper headlines on Wednesday focus on the alleged mutilation of one of the bodies.
See the full article (BBC, 1/9/13)
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Why America Needs Al Jazeera
Time Warner's decision to drop the Middle Eastern news channel is short-sighted. Al Jazeera changed the very nature of news reporting from the Arab world and from what many refer to as the "global south." As the first uncensored satellite channel in the Arab World, Al Jazeera reported widely dissenting news that put the lie to the sycophantic broadcasts of the region's state-owned radio and television monopolies.
See the full article (Daily Beast, Patrick N. Theros, 1/8/12)
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Tentative Deal Reported in Chinese Censorship Dispute
A tentative agreement to defuse a newsroom strike by Chinese journalists over censorship controls in this southeastern provincial capital had been reached by early Wednesday, and some reporters working for Southern Weekend, the newspaper at the heart of the dispute, were told that the paper would publish as usual on Thursday, one journalist in the newsroom said.
See the full article (New York Times, 1/8/13) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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World Media Downplay Assad's Syria Peace Plan
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's proposed peace plan has found little favour with media commentators. Middle East papers are forthright in their criticism, with a Saudi daily saying the president has ignored his people. Chinese press pundits say the prospects for Syria are worrying, and add that Mr Assad needs to find a unified political solution.
See the full article (BBC, 1/7/13)
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South Sudan Holds Journalists for Failing to Cover President Speech
South Sudan has arrested two state broadcast journalists for failing to ensure coverage of a crucial speech by President Salva Kiir, a government official said on Sunday, prompting an outcry from an international media watchdog. Journalists often complain of persecution by the security services of the African republic that seceded from Sudan in 2011.
See the full article (Reuters, Carl Odera and Ulf Laessing, 1/6/13)
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Syria Journalists Caught in Middle of Conflict
In Syria's war, 'the definition of who is considered the enemy is getting broader,' one analyst says, increasingly putting journalists in the cross hairs. Syrian journalists, whether with the opposition or government, are caught in the middle in a conflict that is nearly 2 years old and getting more violent by the day.
See the full article (Los Angeles Times, Ned Parker, 1/5/13)
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Is al-Jazeera Too Soft on Qatar and Its Allies?
Qatar's al-Jazeera television station provided a great ringside seat for the "day of rage" in Cairo almost two years ago that offered the first clear sign of the threat to the rule of then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. While many western media organizations were scrambling to ramp up coverage of Egypt's nascent revolution, al-Jazeera had gripping reports of an extraordinary protest that ended with the ruling party headquarters ablaze and the army on the streets.
See the full article (Washington Post, Michael Peel, 1/4/13)
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Radio Liberty Loses its License in Moscow, and Russians Raise Voices in Dismay
American-financed Radio Liberty, which penetrated the Iron Curtain with news of the outside world during the Cold War, has been trying to join today's information revolution - and the static crackling around its efforts has been loud enough to reach Washington. The radio station has embraced a digital future dismissing 37 journalists as it downsized just before it lost its only local broadcasting license.
See the full article (Washington Post, Kathy Lally, 1/3/13)
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Internet and Social Media

Activists Convicted in Vietnam Crackdown on Dissent
A court in central Vietnam convicted 14 bloggers, writers and political and social activists on Wednesday of plotting to overthrow the government and sentenced them to prison terms ranging from 3 to 13 years in what human rights groups said was the largest subversion case to be brought in years. The defendants were arrested in 2011 and accused of links to a banned pro-democracy group led from California. The government says the group - Viet Tan, or Vietnam Reform Party - seeks its overthrow.
See the full article (New York Times, Seth Mydans, 1/9/13) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Suspended for Facebook Post About Ho Chi Minh
School authorities in Vietnam have suspended an eighth-grade student for one year after she posted a parody of a speech by revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh on Facebook. State-controlled media said Tuesday that the girl's post used language from a famous speech by Ho Chi Minh in 1946 appealing for resistance against French colonialists.
See the full article (AP, 1/9/13)
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YouTube Mistakenly Closes Syria Watchdog Channels
The popular video hosting website YouTube said on Monday it had mistakenly shut down two accounts of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a key source of information in the 21-month Syria conflict. The Observatory, which disseminates graphic videos on YouTube of atrocities from the bloody civil war the UN says has killed more than 60,000 people, condemned the closure.
See the full article (AFP, 1/8/13)
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Kuwaiti Jailed for Insulting Emir on Twitter
A Kuwaiti court has sentenced a man to two years in prison for insulting the country's ruler on Twitter, his lawyer says. Kuwait has clamped down in recent months on political activists who have been using social media websites to criticise the government and the ruling family. The country has seen a series of protests, including one on Sunday night, since the ruling emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al Sabah, used emergency powers in October to change the voting system.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, 1/8/13)
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Apple Rejects iOS Game Exploring Syria's Civil War
Apple's App Store has rejected a game that allows users to explore the different factions, consequences and outcomes of Syria's ongoing civil war, because it deals with a "real entity." Endgame: Syria, which is a free HTML5 game so it can be played on an iOS browser (it's also available on Android), was designed to give players the chance to explore the different outcomes of the conflict, based on different decisions made by Syrian rebels.
See the full article (Wired, Liat Clark, 1/8/13)
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The Age of Surgical Censorship
[Iran], in a move that represents equal parts concession and repression, is reportedly taking another tack: the country is developing "intelligent software" that aims to manipulate, rather than fully control, citizens' access to social networks. Instead of blocking Facebook, or Twitter, or even Google ... the regime, per the report, will allow controlled access to those services.
(Atlantic, Megan Garber, 1/7/13)
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Iran Developing 'Smart Control' Software For Social-Networking Sites
Iran's chief of police, Esmail Ahmadi Moghadam, has said that the country is developing software to control social-networking sites. Ahmadi Moghadam said the "smart control" of social-networking sites is more useful than their complete filtering. His comments come some three weeks after the launch of a Facebook page devoted to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The page has led to domestic calls for the unblocking of Facebook, which is filtered in Iran.
See the full article (RFE/RL, Golnaz Esfandiari, 1/5/13)
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Analysis: US Put in Awkward Position by Google Chief Eric Schmidt's Plans to Visit North Korea
Google chief Eric Schmidt's plan to visit North Korea has put the Obama administration in the awkward position of opposing a champion of Internet freedom who's decided to engage with one of the most intensely censored countries. The administration is wary for a reason. It fears that Schmidt's trip could give a boost to North Korea's young leader, Kim Jong Un, just when Washington is trying to pressure him.
See the full article (AP, 1/5/13)
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Israel Trains Teen Cybersleuths, But Loses Social Media War to Hamas
A nationwide programme aimed at teaching students aged between 16 and 18 how to become "cyberattack interceptors" has been launched in Israel. Although Israel is already in a good position to lead that combat, a position no doubt to be strengthened by the new programme as younger generations take the lead, its attempts at using social networking to support foreign policy appear to be failing, according to a study released this week.
See the full article (, Liat Clark, 1/4/13)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"Afghan PEACE Project Livestock Early Warning System" - Global Livestock CRSP
The PEACE project is focused on the development of the extensive livestock sector by supporting policy planning, pastoral land tenure conflict resolution, and introduction of GL-CRSP LEWS and LINKS technologies to improve rangeland management and livestock production and marketing.
See the full video
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