PeaceTech Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


PeaceTech Roundup
Weekly News Highlights, May 15 - 21, 2014


Technology and Science

Media and Social Media

British Journalist Graham Phillips Held in Ukraine
A British national has been detained in Ukraine, the Foreign Office has confirmed. Graham Phillips is a journalist working for Russian TV station Russia Today. It said he had been detained that morning and was believed to have been taken for "interrogation" by the Security Service of Ukraine, known as the SBU.
See the full article (BBC, 5/21/14)
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Thai Media Censored Under Martial Law
Thai Army Commander General Prayuth Chan-ocha invoked martial law today amid rising political tension and escalating violence between pro- and anti-government protest groups in the national capital. The country's 1914 martial law act gives the army leader sweeping discretionary powers to limit civil liberties and curb press freedoms.
See the full article (Committee to Protect Journalists, 5/20/14)
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Al Jazeera Warns Life of its Journalist Jailed in Egypt is at Risk
Qatar-based satellite network Al Jazeera has written to world powers asking them to secure the release of one of its journalists jailed in Egypt, accusing the authorities in Cairo of endangering his life. In a letter seen by Reuters, a lawyer acting for the pan-Arab network said the health of Abdullah Elshamy, one of four Al Jazeera reporters being held in Egypt, was "of the gravest possible concern and in need of immediate attention".
See the full article (Al Jazeera, Andrew Osborn, 5/20/14)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "The Future of Afghan Policing: Security after NATO Withdrawal" on May, 27, 2014 at 1:00pm.
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Divide Grows Between Israeli, Palestinian Journalists
Journalists are supposed to cover the news, not become the subject of it. This was the case, however, with two Israeli journalists who defied a request by Palestinian demonstrators not to film their bare faces.
See the full article (Al Monitor, Daoud Kuttab, 5/19/14)
Click to read "The Volatile Factors Underlying a Potential Iran Nuclear Deal" an Olive Branch Post by Garrett Nada.
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The Blogging Battlegrounds Of Eastern Ukraine
As Ukraine prepares for presidential elections on Sunday, a social media struggle is underway in the country's eastern provinces. Separatists are also targeting bloggers who oppose them. Many bloggers and social media users say they face surveillance, trolls and threats as they work.
See the full article (NPR, Corey Flintoff, 5/19/14)
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The 'All-Out Propaganda War' in Ukraine
Back home on Russian television screens, Putin's policy in Ukraine has been depicted as a valiant stand on behalf of Russian speakers. That kind of coverage has been dismissed as "propaganda" in the West - but you do not have to go all the way to Moscow to find biased journalism. Western news outlets have also been criticised for reflecting, even parroting, what their domestic political leaders have been saying about this crisis.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, 5/17/14)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Peace Messaging through Films: The 60 Second International Film Festival" on May, 29, 2014 at 1:00pm.
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#Soma Social Media Finds 'Cracks in the Divide'
Turkish officials are committing violence on camera, but Erdogan supporters don't always see it. The Soma tragedy is just beginning to bridge the digital media gap, says blogger and communications professor Erkan Saka.
See the full article (Deutsche Welle, Conor Dillon, 5/16/14)
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First Person: Photojournalist Killings Make My Work Dangerous
Being a conflict photographer seems more dangerous than ever right now - or maybe the longer I do this, the more I feel my odds of surviving are wearing thin. On Tuesday as I sat in the transit lounge in the Nairobi airport following a two-week trip to South Sudan, where I was documenting the civil war, the world was learning of the murder of French photojournalist Camille Lepage, who was covering the civil war in the neighboring Central African Republic. Camille was 26 years old.
See the full article (National Geographic, Lynsey Addario, 5/16/14)
Click to read "Boko Haram Kidnappings Prompt Northern Nigerian Women's March" an Olive Branch Post by Georgia Holmer.
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Featured Story from the USIP Foreign Policy Peace Channel

The Lost Girls by Lauren Wolfe
Over the last week or so, multiple stories in the news have been asking why the media is ignoring the kidnapping of more than 200 girls by Boko Haram in Nigeria. Yet there have been literally hundreds of Facebook posts, thousands of tweets, and dozens of stories in the media about what is going on. People are paying attention.
See the full article

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Technology and Science

China Denounces US Cyber-Theft Charges
China has denounced US charges against five of its army officers accused of economic cyber-espionage. Beijing says the US is also guilty of spying on other countries, including China, and accuses the US of hypocrisy and "double standards". US prosecutors say the officers stole trade secrets and internal documents from five companies and a labour union.
See the full article (BBC, 5/20/14)
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The Most Important Points Missing From the Conversation About Cyberwar
Take that, Chinese hackers. This week, the Department of Justice announced the first-ever criminal charges against a foreign government for economic cyber-espionage. But the announcement speaks to a much thornier issue - one that may require a wholesale rethink of our legal framework for conflicts: Does an economic cyberattack constitute an act of aggression? Are we at the beginning of a cyber cold war?
See the full article (Slate, Elizabeth Weingarten, 5/20/14)
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Technology a Middle East Bright Spot
The tech competition could easily have taken place in Silicon Valley. The winning team designed a 3D printer with the basic tools and materials available. The runners-up developed a smartphone application to help users find the nearest pharmacy and a game that teaches kids about electronic circuits. The scene for this juxtaposition between cutting-edge technology and the primeval quest for survival: Syria's Damascus Technology Garden, which in February hosted its first Startup Weekend since the country descended into civil war three years ago.
See the full article (Al Monitor, Julian Pecquet, 5/20/14)
Click to read "Tunisia and Libya's Political Transitions: Impressions from the Field" an Olive Branch Post by Elie Abouaoun.
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The Russian Tech Companies Poised to Benefit From U.S. Sanctions
U.S. sanctions were meant to punish Russia for interfering in Ukraine. Instead, they may actually benefit some of its business moguls. Telecom billionaire Vladimir Evtushenkov is a case in point.
See the full article (Bloomberg, Ilya Khrennikov, 5/20/14)
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iNakba Reminds Israelis of Palestinian Towns Erased From the Map
Every May, Israelis and Palestinians hold warring days of remembrance - one for the day their country was born, the other for the day their nation suffered a nakba, or "catastrophe." But amid all the waving of the Israeli flags this year, an Israeli NGO has launched a smartphone app to commemorate the more than 400 Palestinian villages depopulated or destroyed in the wake of Israel's founding.
See the full article (Christian Science Monitor, Christa Case Bryant, 5/15/14)
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