USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup


United States Institute of Peace



Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, December 5 - 11, 2013

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

"Egypt's Media is a Propaganda Machine"
"The Egyptian media has never been free. It wasn't under Mubarak, it wasn't under Morsi and isn't free now," said Mazen Hassan. Mazen Hassan is the Germany-based correspondent for Egypt's Al-Ahram newspaper. Given Egypt's current political situation he said the media is little more than a "propaganda machine", with many journalists allowing themselves to be manipulated by the country's respective power holders.
See the full article (Deutsche Welle, Nadine Wojcik, 12/11/13)
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News Outlets to Syrian Rebels: Help Us Stop Journalist Kidnapping
Syria is the most dangerous place in the world to be a journalist. As former New York Times reporter David Rohde wrote last month, roughly 30 journalists, half of them foreign reporters, are now missing in the country—marking the "single largest wave of kidnappings in modern journalism." Now some of the world's biggest media organizations are calling on Syrian rebel leaders to do more to protect the journalists in their midst. In a letter addressed to the "leadership of the armed opposition in Syria," the news outlets urge the heads of rebel organizations to "assist in identifying those groups currently holding journalists and take the steps necessary to bring about their release,"
See the full article (Atlantic, Uri Friedman, 12/11/13)
Click to read "Syria Gamers at USIP Jockey for 'Best Possible Peace'" an Olive Branch Post.
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Putin Dissolves State News Agency, Tightens Grip on Russia Media
President Vladimir Putin tightened his control over Russia's media on Monday by dissolving the main state news agency and replacing it with an organization that is to promote Moscow's image abroad. The move to abolish RIA Novosti and create a news agency to be known as Rossiya Segodnya is the second in two weeks strengthening Putin's hold on the media as he tries to reassert his authority after protests against his rule.
See the full article (Reuters, Timothy Heritage, 12/9/13)
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Where Freedom of the Press Is Muffled
In China on Thursday, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. spoke plainly about the role of a free press in a democratic society. “Innovation thrives where people breathe freely, speak freely, are able to challenge orthodoxy, where newspapers can report the truth without fear of consequences,” he said in an address to American businesspeople living and working there. He was speaking against the backdrop of China’s restrictive policies on reporting by foreign news organizations.
See the full article (NYT, David Carr, 12/8/13) *NYT subscription may be required to read full article
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Jihadists Execute Iraqi cameraman in Rebel-Held Syria
Fighters linked to Al-Qaeda executed an Iraqi freelance cameraman as he was leaving Syria after a 10-day assignment in rebel-held territory, watchdogs said on Thursday. Yasser Faysal al-Joumaili was shot dead after being stopped at a checkpoint in mainly rebel-held Idlib province in the northwest as he headed for the Turkish border on Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
See the full article (AFP, 12/6/13)
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'Putin's Games' Sheds Light On Corruption, Abuse In Sochi
A documentary detailing the irregularities marring the run-up to next year's Sochi Olympics premieres in Russia this week, in defiance of what its makers say were attempts by Moscow authorities to block the film. "Putin's Games" offers a rare glimpse into the pervasive corruption, rights abuses, and environmental damage that critics say has pervaded the Black Sea resort as Russia scrambles to prepare it for the Winter Games in February 2014.
See the full article (RFE/RL, Sofia Kornienko and Claire Bigg, 12/6/13)
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'Peace Journalism' Flags Up Role of Media in Conflict
A recent workshop at Queen's University on 'Peace Journalism' revived a long-standing debate about how far journalists can and should go when covering conflict. In a Northern Ireland context, that might mean, for instance, putting sectarianism in its true, wider context and not merely focusing on attacks on one community by the other. Much of this, properly done, is the true practice of journalism.
See the full article (Belfast Telegraph, Paul Connolly, 12/6/13)
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Internet and Social Media

Trade can break down China’s Great Firewall
Beijing has hinted ominously that it might rescind the right to live in China from as many as two dozen foreign journalists based there for U.S. news organizations. Such a mass eviction would be a dramatic escalation from its previous practices of denying visas to individual reporters and blocking access to foreign news organizations’ Web sites or suspending the distribution of their publications in China.
See the full article (Washington Post, Marcus Brauchli and Lee C. Bollinger, 12/11/13)
Click to read "Fallout from China’s Air Defense Zone Underscores Need for Crisis Mechanisms" an Olive Branch Post by Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt.
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From the Icy Streets of Kiev, Ukraine Spring Goes Global
The role of social media in EuroMaidan is unprecedented in Ukraine. Unlike the Orange Revolution nine years ago, which overturned a rigged election, this protest has been largely fueled by social media. The first images and messages of some 3,000 people on the square didn't go out in print or television media; they were from citizens, activists and journalists on Facebook and Twitter.
See the full article (Mashable, Christopher Miller, 12/11/13)
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To Fight Assad, Syrian Opposition Logs on at Any Cost
In war-torn Syria, connectivity and communication are crucial for citizen journalists and homegrown media outlets to share video and reports of events on the ground.[Syria's] balky connection is a result of tactics used by the Syrian government to curb free speech and stop opposition forces from communicating with each other in the country and their supporters in the outside world. Though Syria’s infrastructure is hardly robust by U.S. standards, access to the Internet is often deliberately inhibited by the regime of President Bashar al Assad.
See the full article (CBS, Zack Whittaker, 12/11/13)
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Phone Apps Help Government, Others Counter Violence Against Women
Smart and mobile phones have helped authorities solve crimes from beatings that occurred during the London riots to the Boston Marathon bombing. A panel of experts gathered on Monday said the devices can also help reduce and combat rapes and other gender-based violence. Smartphone apps and text messaging services proliferated in India following a sharp rise in reported gang rapes, including the brutal 2012 rape and murder of a 23-year-old medical student in Delhi, according to panelists at the Wilson Center event on gender-based violence and innovative technologies.
See the full article ((NextGov, Joseph Marks, 12/10/13)
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China Hackers 'Target EU Foreign Ministries'
Chinese hackers spied on the computers of five European foreign ministries over the summer, according to research from US security company FireEye. The hackers sent emails with malware-ridden attachments purporting to detail a possible US intervention in Syria. The company has not revealed which ministries were targeted but said the malware samples were meant for individuals involved in the G20 talks.
See the full article (BBC, Jake Wakefield, 12/10/13)
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“Take Back the Tech” Campaign: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence
From 25th November to 10th December, 2013, the group “Take Back the Tech” invites you to the 16 Days of No Violence Against Women campaign, and to take action each of those days in order to end gender violence. “Take Back the Tech” was created in 2006 as a part of the women's rights program Association for Progressive Communications or (APC), a group of women from different parts of the world who “advocate for online collaboration in order to achieve social change and empower women through the use of information and communication technologies.”
See the full article (Global Voices, 12/7/13)
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Why Should a Girl in Nigeria Learn to Code?
Teenage girls are some of the most active users of mobile phones. But they don't see themselves as inventors of technology. Technovation Challenge is the largest global technology entrepreneurship program for girls. Participants work with professional mentors to research, design, build, and launch mobile apps that solve real problems in their communities over the course of 3 months. Technovation was created to inspire girls be the next generation of innovators and problem solvers using technology. Over the past four years Technovation has introduced 1,374 girls worldwide to programming and entrepreneurship.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Tara Chkloviski, 12/6/13)
Click to read "Mandela’s Legacy: Timing, Spoilers, and Responsibility for Peace" an Olive Branch Post by Princeton N. Lyman.
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Iran's Revolutionary Guards Arrest Internet Activists
Iran's Revolutionary Guards have carried out a new wave of arrests of cyber activists and members of pro-opposition social networking websites. Kaleme, a leading opposition website, reported on Thursday that at least five Iranians who had shared news about the situation of political prisoners on Facebook have recently been held by the security apparatus of the country's elite forces.
See the full article (Guardian, Saeed Kamali Dehghan, 12/5/13)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"Lebanon: Family Feast" - UNHCR
For more than a year, Foddiyé has been hosting Syrian refugee families on her land in Lebanon. This year, she and her Syrian lodgers have been eating the Ramadan evening meal together as one family.
See the full video
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