USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, February 7 - 13, 2013

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

South Sudan to Test Drive UN Media Safety Plan
Journalists and U.N. officials on Wednesday hailed South Sudan's decision to be a pilot country for a United Nations initiative aimed at creating a free and safe environment for media workers. The U.N. plan outlines a series of activities to be put in place including helping the government to develop laws that safeguard journalists; developing safety training courses for journalists; establishing real-time emergency response mechanisms; and strengthening the safety of journalists in conflict zones, among others.
See the full article (Voice of America, Mugume Davis Rwakaringi, 2/13/13)
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Nigeria Polio Killings: Arrests of 3 Radio Journalists for Allegedly Inciting Murders of Vaccine Workers
Police in northern Nigeria arrested and charged two radio journalists and a local cleric alleged to have sparked the killings of at least nine women gunned down while trying to administer polio vaccines. Police claimed their on-air comments about a vaccination campaign in the area inflamed the region and caused the attacks.
See the full article (AP, Salisu Rabiu, 2/12/13)
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Israeli Says Syrian Media Misreported Exile's Views
A public relations controversy erupted Saturday after a leading Israeli newspaper published comments from a brief interview with the leader of Syria's main exile opposition group. The news media outlets of the Syrian government, and its ally Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group, reported that the opposition leader had declared that Israel had "nothing to fear" from a rebel-led Syrian government.
See the full article (New York Times, Anne Barnard and Isabel Kershner, 2/9/13) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Pakistan's Media Police
Maria Khan, the host of a Pakistani television talk show, raided a massage parlor in a private residence in Lahore last week and accused the women working there of being prostitutes. But the recent show is more alarming in its similarity to a raid conducted by radicalized seminary students on a massage parlor in Islamabad almost six years ago. The parallels between the two incidents demonstrate how extremist ideologies have entered the Pakistani mainstream - and can even be counted on to get high ratings on local television.
See the full article (New York Times, Huma Yusuf, 2/8/13) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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China and Japan's Media in War of Words Over Radar Issue
The war of words between media outlets and experts in Beijing and Tokyo is hotting up after a Chinese frigate reportedly put a radar lock on a Japanese navy ship. The incident, which happened near disputed East China Sea islands last month, sparked angry responses in both capitals with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calling it a "dangerous act" and China asking Tokyo to stop "illegal" activities. Newspapers and experts in both countries followed suit.
See the full article (BBC, 2/7/13)
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Internet and Social Media

In Vietnam, Draconian Decree Would Clamp Down on Blogs, Online Speech
"Reactionary group leader sentenced to life in jail" ran the headlines in Vietnam's government-linked press earlier this week. Such coverage sheds light on how the media works in the one-party state where online writing has filled a void. In state-run mainstream media, topics such as power struggles within the ruling Communist Party and relations with China are often taboo, and challenges to authoritarian rule are dismissed with old-school Soviet slurs.
See the full article (PBS, Simon Roughneen, 2/11/13)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Media as Global Diplomat: Media That Moves Millions" on February 28 at 8:30am.
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Egypt Court Bans YouTube Over Innocence of Muslims Trailer
YouTube has been temporarily banned in Egypt for carrrying an anti-Islamic documentary that triggered deadly riots across north Africa and the Middle East in September. In what human rights activists have called a backwards step for internet freedom, Judge Hassouna Tawfiq ordered the government to block access to the video-sharing website for 30 days after the trailer for Innocence of Muslims sparked outrage.
See the full article (Guardian, Patrick Kingsley, 2/10/13)
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E-Mails of Reporters in Myanmar Are Hacked
Several journalists who cover Myanmar said Sunday that they had received warnings from Google that their e-mail accounts might have been hacked by "state-sponsored attackers." The warnings began appearing last week, said the journalists, who included employees of Eleven Media, one Myanmar's leading news organizations; Bertil Lintner, a Thailand-based author and expert on Myanmar's ethnic groups; and a Burmese correspondent for The Associated Press.
See the full article (New York Times, Thomas Fuller, 2/10/13) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Software that Tracks People on Social Media Created by Defence Firm
The power of Riot to harness popular websites for surveillance offers a rare insight into controversial techniques that have attracted interest from intelligence and national security agencies, at the same time prompting civil liberties and online privacy concerns. The sophisticated technology demonstrates how the same social networks that helped propel the Arab Spring revolutions can be transformed into a "Google for spies" and tapped as a means of monitoring and control.
See the full article (Guardian, Ryan Gallagher, 2/10/13)
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Can Social Media Disarm Syria's Chemical Arsenal?
If you are a Syrian military officer in charge of some nasty chemical weapons, you've probably been friended or Skyped by the U.S. government. The message is simple: think twice before using or selling that mustard gas you are guarding. When a bombing knocked out top Assad officials, Western intelligence agencies scrambled to find those left holding the deadly stash. Their tools: Facebook, Skype, Twitter, and more.
See the full article (Daily Beast, Eli Lake, 2/8/13)
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Twitter Devolutions
Tahrir Square launched a thousand dissertations on how social media drove the frenetic mobilization of the Arab Spring. But the celebratory narrative about social media needs to be tempered by the reality of the struggles that have befallen most of these countries in transition. Whether or not Twitter made the Arab revolutions, is it now helping to kill them?
See the full article (Foreign Policy, Marc Lynch, 2/7/13) *Foreign Policy sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Iranian 'Presidential Candidate' Makes Social Media Splash
Iran has been prominent recently on the popular Reddit social newssite thanks to the fact that self-styled presidential candidate Hooshang Amirahmadi made himself available to the site's users on February 7 under the subject line "I am running for President of Iran. My name is Dr. Hooshang Amirahmadi, ask me anything!" Among other things, Amirahmadi also boldly claimed that he would abolish censorship in Iran were he to be elected president.
See the full article (RFE/RL, Coilin O'Connor, 2/7/13)
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A Gorgeous Video Describes the Iranian Internet in Three Minutes
What role Twitter really played in the 2009 protests in Iran is debatable. But in the years since, the Internet there has become only more controlled, using a complicated system of censorship and surveillance. Maral Pourkazemi hopes that by illustrating this information artistically, the true internet can become more accessible.
See the full article (Slate, Charles Pulliam-Moore, 2/7/13)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"To Be Determined: Myrlie Evers-Williams" - TEDxBend
Myrlie Evers-Williams, a Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at Alcorn State University, is an African-American civil rights leader who for decades has broken barriers of racial and gender inequality in the workplace, in government and in society. Her legacy evokes leadership in activism, journalism, politics and public service.
See the full video
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