USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace



Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, November 21 - December 4, 2013

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

Kenya Journalists Protest Media Bill
About 300 journalists and civil rights activists marched to parliament and the president's office Tuesday in Kenya's capital to protest what they say is an attempt by lawmakers to stifle criticism by pressuring journalists with monetary fines. Many of the protesters sang songs while carrying placards. Others wore tape across their mouths to symbolize the gagging of the media.
See the full article (AP, Tom Odula, 12/3/13)
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When the Messenger Is the Killer
Obsessed with violence, homicide and war, [journalism] has, in general terms, failed to provide appropriate coverage of nonviolent social actions and initiatives to prevent or reduce killing. Not only has mainstream journalism magnified violence but is has also created a macabre equation of news value of deaths according to geographical and cultural variables.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Joam Evans Pim, 12/3/13)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Inaugural PeaceGame 2013: Chart the Best Possible Peace for Syria," on December 9-10, 2013 at 8:00 am.
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Gunmen Attack Offices of Pakistani Media Group in Karachi
Unidentified gunmen opened fire on the office of a leading news media group in Karachi on Monday evening, wounding a security guard and underscoring the threats journalists face in the country. The motive of the attack, on the offices of the Express Media Group, remained unclear, and there was no immediate claim of responsibility.
See the full article (New York Times, Salman Masood, 12/2/13)*NYT subscription may be required to read full article
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A BBC Bureau for Burma
The Myanmar Ministry of Information announced that the BBC, along with three other international news agencies, had been given official permission to open a news bureau in Burma, also known as Myanmar. It is hard to overstate the significance of this news, nor the astonishing pace of change in a country which has long been a byword for media repression and censorship.
See the full article (BBC, Peter Horrocks, 12/2/13)
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Peace Through Media: Broadcasting Tolerance
Over the past two years, [Islam Deen] has participated in peace-building and conflict management trainings conducted by local and foreign nongovernment organisations. While Deen, who self-identifies as a social worker, has learnt ways to defuse arguments and talk people out of violence, the trainings have made him realise that mass mobilisation for peace requires mass means of communications.
See the full article (Express Tribune, 12/2/13)
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Journalists and Writers Caught Up in Ukraine Violence
In Ukraine, hundreds of thousands of protesters calling for the ouster of the prime minister continued to flood the streets on Sunday. Reports vary on just how many journalists have been attacked during the protests. Reuters reported Sunday that 29 journalists "had suffered at the hands of police while covering the weekend events in Kiev. At least 12 of these had been beaten by riot police."
See the full article (PBS, Zachary Green, 12/1/13)
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Somali Radio Director Arrested Over Rape Case
Somali government security forces have arrested the director of the popular privately owned radio station Shabelle for allowing a reporter to use the station’s camera to record an interview with an alleged rape victim, Al Jazeera has learned. Speaking from prison on Monday, Abdimalik Yusuf Mohamud said he was arrested because a camera belonging to the station was used by Mohamed Bashir, a Shabelle reporter who interviewed the alleged victim.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, Hamza Mohamed, 11/26/13)
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Internet and Social Media

SMS to Help Monitor Elections in the Arab World
Civil society organisations in Egypt and Tunisia are investigating quicker, more effective ways of monitoring elections using text messaging (SMS). Tunisia is expecting an election in six months, and the Egyptian government has promised to hold a presidential election “very soon”. In one new system tested in three African countries, SMS monitoring is carried out by hundreds of observers who send a stream of coded reports from polling stations via text messages from their mobile phones.
See the full article (Sci Dev, Rehab Abd Almohsen, 12/2/13)
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Drug Cartels In Mexico Now Using Twitter, Facebook As Recruitment Tool
Drug cartels in Mexico have notoriously misunderstood the word low profile, from pouting in selfies, to photographing their pistols; members of these violent and dangerous gangs have harnessed the power of social media to show off their lucrative lifestyle. Drug cartels are now using social media; specifically Twitter and Facebook, in the same way most retailers utilize the online tools--marketing.
See the full article (Latin Times, Donovan Longo, 12/2/13)
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Iranian Judiciary Seeks China Model of State Censorship for Facebook
In a direct warning to cabinet officials in the Rouhani administration who openly use Facebook and other social media sites that are officially forbidden to the Iranian citizenry, Iran’s Police Commander Esmaeel Ahmadi Moghaddam criticized “certain government officials” today, telling a group of reporters that “It’s not a good thing that certain government officials are attempting to slowly pass the red lines and enter an environment the utilization of which is prohibited for other citizens.”
See the full article ((International Campaign for Human Rights, 12/2/13)
Click to read "Iran Agreement Sets Agenda for Talks Toward Larger Pact" an Olive Branch Post by George Lopez.
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Africa's New Generation of Young Leaders
Dan [Orogo is] successfully using the radio and internet to get his message to other young people, and established a sizable audience through the Langata Peace Network, an organization of youth groups working for peace that he founded. Now he writes a blog about peace, and is involved with a local radio program that features interviews with him and other peace-builders.
See the full article (Huffington Post, David Weiss, 12/2/13))
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Conflict, Challenges, and Prospects in the Congo: A Diplomat’s Perspective," on December 11, 2013 at 2:00 pm.
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Iranians React to Nuclear Deal on Social Media
When Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif confirmed the landmark nuclear deal over the weekend, his announcement not made at a podium or declared in front of television cameras. It was done on Twitter, and that's ironic because the government blocks many Iranians from using sites like Twitter and Facebook. Now, many people in Iran find their way around the restrictions and are able to get on social media.
See the full article (NPR, 11/26/13)
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Rocket Man: How an Unemployed Blogger Confirmed that Syria had used Chemical Weapons
Although [Eliot] Higgins has never been to Syria, and until recently had no connection to the country, he has become perhaps the foremost expert on the munitions used in the war. On YouTube, he scans as many as three hundred new videos a day, with the patience of an ornithologist. Even when a rocket has largely been destroyed, he can often identify it by whatever scraps survive.
See the full article (New Yorker, Patrick Radden Keefe, 11/25/13)
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Altered Images: How to Verify Photos of Current Events
With smartphone use widespread, images of unfolding events quickly fill social media networks. While many are genuine, it is not uncommon for a picture depicting something else entirely to be passed off as documenting a protest, a natural disaster or other event. BBC News receives photos every day from people across the world, many purporting to show unfolding events. Trushar Barot, of the BBC's user generated content team, says there are two aspects to verifying whether images are genuine - technical checks and editorial judgement.
See the full article (BBC, 11/22/13)
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Iran Blocks Encrypted Chat Service Despite Claims of Internet Freedom
Iranian officials have promised more Internet freedom since Hassan Rouhani was elected in June. However, many websites and social networks, like Facebook an Twitter, remain blocked. The latest victim of Iran's so-called "Filternet" is Cryptocat, a tool that allows for secure and encrypted chat, and is popular with human rights activists and journalists around the world.
See the full article (Mashable, Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, 11/21/13)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"N. Korean Defectors to Perform at Concert for Peace"-Voice of America
Pianist Kim Cheol Woong and a young violinist are preparing for a special concert. She does not want her face shown in video because, like Kim, she is a North Korean defector to South Korea. Kim is headlining a “Concert for Peace” in Seoul on July 26 commemorating the 60th anniversary of the armistice that ended fighting in the Korean War but also left the country divided. Kim hopes his music can help one day bring the two Koreas back together again.
See the full video
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