PeaceTech News Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


PeaceTech Roundup
Weekly News Highlights, July 31 - August 6, 2014


Peace Channel

Featured Story:
Negotiating the Next War

by Rebecca Hamilton

Media and Social Media

Technology and Science

Media and Social Media

Pakistani Taliban Threaten Media for 'Shameless,' 'Satanic' Role
The media wing of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan's Mohmand agency franchise has threatened the country's news organizations over coverage of the military operation in North Waziristan. On Monday, the Pakistani Taliban sent out an email addressed to "the heads and members of the organizations working for the rights of media members around the world," including Reporters without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists. The email [is entitled] "The Global War of Ideologies and the Behavior of Media."
See the full article (Newsweek Pakistan, 8/6/14)
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Palestinians Decry Gaza Journalist Killings
Hala Hamad first received the news of her husband Khaled's death in a television report. "My family were telling me, 'No, it's not him,' but I knew [from] his camera and his vest written Press on it," she told Al Jazeera, breaking down in tears. Since the war began, at least 11 Palestinian media workers have been killed: Three at different times in the Shujayea neighbourhood, a driver for Gaza news agency Media 24 in an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, and another five were killed while not on duty. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is still investigating the cases of another three reported deaths of journalists.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, Mohammed Omer and Dalia Hatuqa, 8/5/14)
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Will Social Media Activism #FreeGaza or #BringBackOurGirls?
It has been over 7 weeks since three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped in the West Bank, the tragic preliminary to nearly 2 months of unrelenting violence, death and destruction in Gaza. Facebook and (perhaps even more prominently) Twitter have become the dominant tools for observing, disseminating and reacting to major global issues as they unfold, whilst online news sites use live blog updates that seek to harness live tweets and other sources of news to fully immerse online users with breaking news.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Jack McSweeney, 8/5/14)
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Russian Journalist's Body Found After Disappearance
The body of an independent Russian journalist was found in a wood the day after he had gone missing following threats from law enforcement authorities. Kuashev had written about alleged human rights abuses by the security forces in the course of anti-terrorism operations. He also criticised Russian policy in Ukraine.
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 8/5/14)
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5 Innovative Projects Show the Power of Citizen Collaboration
The reporting projects below do not use citizen content only as a last resort. Instead, they work with citizens as collaborators in sourcing, investigating and reporting stories. They curate citizen content by finding, verifying and presenting reports from the communities they cover and help their audience understand the larger story that they contribute to. They have resulted in consequential and award-winning coverage, and for journalism educators gathered at this week's annual AEJMC conference, as well as newsroom editors and entrepreneurs, they provide models of innovation worth paying attention to.
See the full article (PBS, Madeleine Blair, 8/5/14)
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Is Western Media Coverage of the Ukraine Crisis Anti-Russian?
In war, it is said, truth is the first casualty. That has certainly been the case with the conflict in Ukraine. The star for mendacity goes to Russian TV. This is not the entire Russian press - there are opposition newspapers and the relatively free internet which regularly challenge Russian official narratives. But more than 90% of Russians get their news from their unrelentingly propagandist state TV channels.
See the full article (Guardian, 8/4/14)
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Under the Cosh
For Jason Rezaian, the Iran correspondent of the Washington Post and his wife Yeganeh Saleh, herself a journalist, the knock on the door came on July 22nd. Security men took them away and, almost two weeks later, they and a photographer for the American newspaper are still in custody. Nobody knows what they are accused of and family members have received no information about their whereabouts. Iran has long been hostile to the media.
See the full article (Economist, 8/4/14)
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U.S. Media Coverage Of Israel-Gaza Conflict Gets An 'F'
Glenn Greenwald lambasted the U.S. government's approach to the Gaza conflict in an article published Monday by The Intercept, but his criticism extends to America's media practices -- for which he gives U.S. journalists a failing grade. "There's no question that the way that the American media covers this conflict is based on the principle that Israeli lives are just inherently more valuable than Palestinian lives," he told HuffPost Live's Marc Lamont Hill in an interview Monday.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Emily Tess Katz, 8/4/14)
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A Russian Soldier's 'Ukraine Selfies' are Not Evidence, They're War Art
Selfies are not about to become the new military intelligence. They may, however, be the new war art. It is claimed that self-portraits posted on a Russian soldier's Instagram account may "prove" the Russian army has been operating inside eastern Ukraine, raising the possibility that not only Russian technology but also Russian operators were involved in the destruction of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.
See the full article (Guardian, Jonathan Jones, 8/1/14)
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South Sudan: End Media Restrictions
South Sudan's National Security Service (NSS) should stop seizing and shutting down newspapers as well as harassing, intimidating, and unlawfully detaining journalists. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said that against the backdrop of an internal armed conflict that has raged for seven months across much of the country, the moves are restricting freedom of expression and curtailing public debate about how to end the conflict. The groups called for an end to these abuses and for South Sudan's parliament to ensure proper oversight of the NSS.
See the full article (Human Rights Watch, 7/31/14)
Click to read "U.S.-Africa Summit: To Spur Growth, Address Violence and Governance" an Olive Branch Post by George E. Moose.
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Twitter Chat: Is Social Media a Weapon in Modern Warfare?
The use of social media as a tool in times of war, uprising and military conflict is nothing new. Extremist groups such as the Islamic State group [in Iraq] have incorporated the use of social media into their broader military strategy. During the Arab Spring, Twitter was both a catalyst for social unrest, demonstrations and revolution, and a valuable resource for journalists reporting on the situation.
See the full article (PBS, Nora Daly, 7/31/14)
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Featured Story from the USIP Foreign Policy Peace Channel

Negotiating the Next War by Rebecca Hamilton
For a moment last week, it looked as though the people of the Central African Republic (CAR) were getting some much-needed good news. Representatives from two rebel groups, the mainly Muslim Séléka and the mainly Christian anti-Balaka, whose fighting has displaced more than a quarter of the CAR's population since March of last year, signed a cease-fire agreement.
See the full article

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Technology and Science

Hackers Design Clandestine Aerials to Help North Koreans Watch Banned TV
A group of budding young developers has won a competition to find new ways of spreading information inside North Korea, with their idea for small, flat, easily hidden aerials that could intercept South Korean TV programmes. Several teams spent the weekend working on ideas that would enable digital information to be concealed, hidden or otherwise transmitted without raising the suspicion of authorities.
See the full article (Guardian, Martyn Williams, 7/6/14)
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Using Mobile Phones to Better Understand Refugees' Food Needs
Before 2012, when the World Food Programme began exploring the use of mobile technology to help gather information, the organisation relied on face to face surveys and interviews with residents. Projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), for example, involved two strategies. In refugee camps around eastern DRC, the WFP gave out 300 basic phones and used a WFP-based live call centre to conduct surveys assessing what people were eating, how much and how often.
See the full article (Guardian, Beth Hoffman, 8/6/14)
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Google Removes 'Bomb Gaza' Game from App Store
Google has been forced to remove a game called Bomb Gaza after facing angry criticism from the public. The game's logo included an F16 fighter jet, as used by Israel's military, and the description told users that they must "drop bombs and avoid killing civilians". The Android game was added to the Play store on July 29 and had been downloaded between 500 and 1,000 times. But the software has now been removed from the store and is no longer available to download.
See the full article (Telegraph, Matthew Sparkes, 8/5/14)
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Israel Spied on John Kerry's Phone During Middle East Peace Talks
Israel reportedly eavesdropped on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's phone calls during last year's failed Middle East peace talks between Israel, Palestinian authorities and Arab states. The intelligence services of Israel, as well as those of at least one other country, intercepted phone calls made by Kerry using an insecure telephone, according to a report published on Sunday by the German news magazine Der Spiegel.
See the full article (Mashable, Lorenzo Franceschi-Biccierai, 8/4/14)
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Viber Says App Used by 5 Million Burmese
Mobile phone application Viber has announced that the use of its communications service in Burma has soared in recent months and reached 5 million users in July. The figure offers an indication of just how rapidly mobile internet usage is growing in the country, which was cut off from modern communications technology under the former military regime for many years.
See the full article (Irrawaddy, Nyein Nyein, 7/31/14)
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