Weekly News Highlights, October 9-15, 2014
by Manal Omar
- Russia Threatens Foreign Media Ownership With New Rules (Bloomberg, 10/15/14)
- Social Media: Curse and Cure of Terror (Gulf News, 10/14/14)
- Western Media: Stop Ignoring the Central African Republic Crisis (Columbia Journalism Review, 10/13/14)
- How the Media's Focus on Kobani Obscures the War in Syria (Mashable, 10/13/14)
- Social Media & Global Conflicts: #BinaryBattles (The Express Tribune, 10/12/14)
- Bahrain Human Rights Defender Faces Charges for Tweet (Huffington Post, 10/12/14)
- Twitter CEO Reveals ISIS has Threatened to Kill Him After Site Shut Down Jihadist Accounts (Daily Mail, 10/10/14)
- Al-Qaida and ISIS Use Twitter Differently. Here's How and Why. (National Journal, 10/9/14)
Technology and Science
- Pentagon Report: U.S. Military Considers Climate Change a 'Threat Multiplier' That Could Exacerbate Terrorism (Newsweek, 10/14/14)
- The Jihadi Are Winning Their Online War on the West (Newsweek, 10/13/14)
- Robert Fisk on Isis: Propaganda War of Islamic extremists is Being Waged on Facebook and Internet Message Boards, Not Mosques (The Independent, 10/12/14)
- State official: ISIS a 'Dark, Nasty' Online Presence (The Hill, 10/10/14)
Media and Social Media
President Vladimir Putin signed a law today curbing foreign ownership in Russian media, shrugging off criticism that the Kremlin is undermining the independent press in a swipe at global publishers and broadcasters. This year, as geopolitical tensions flared over the conflict in Ukraine, Putin has tightened control over the World Wide Web and media.
See the full article (Bloomberg, 10/15/14, Ilya Khrennikov)
A constant problem for intelligence services is detecting a terrorist before he acts. Now we have one good marker: The would-be terrorist is a 'friend' or a 'follower' of militants.
See the full article (Gulf News, 10/14/14, Daniel Byman and Jeremy Shapiro)
With gunfire and mob attacks in the streets of the capital, the Central African Republic is teetering again on the edge of mass violence. Nine people killed were killed in two days, including a UN peacekeeper from Pakistan and a Muslim civilian whose dead body was decapitated and burned by an angry mob in the capital, Bangui. But world's media are all but absent from the country.
See the full article (Columbia Journalism Review, 10/13/14, Jared Malsin)
As the world's attention is gripped by the Islamic State's advance on the small Kurdish town of Kobani in northeastern Syria, other towns in Syria are being overrun by forces loyal to the dictator Bashar al-Assad largely without notice. Though local journalists and activists have tried to draw attention to a mounting crisis in the key city of Aleppo, they have not managed to raise the sort of interest now fixed on Kobani.
See the full article (Mashable, 10/13/14, Emily Feldman)
War and conflict is no longer limited to battlefields. Every battle on the ground now has an equally strong and effective virtual dimension. Social media has turned everyone into a stakeholder in events that are taking place thousands of miles away.
See the full article(The Express Tribune, 10/12/14, Vasiq Eqbal)
Within two weeks of releasing leading human rights defender Maryam Al Khawaja from jail the Bahrain authorities detained another. On September 30 Nabeel Rajab was taken into custody for allegedly insulting the Bahrain regime on Twitter. Rajab has been exposing human rights violations by the U.S. ally for many years and spent from mid-2012 to mid-2014 in prison on trumped-up charges.
See the full article(Huffington Post, 10/12/14, Brian Dooley)
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has revealed that he and his staff have received death threats from ISIS after the site shut down accounts being used by the terrorist organization. Mr Costolo said: 'After we started suspending their accounts, some folks affiliated with the organization used Twitter to declare that employees of Twitter and their management should be assassinated.
See the full article (Daily Mail, 10/10/14, Annabel Grossman)
Al-Qaida has an Internet presence nearly two decades old, using various platforms and-more recently-social media to push its message. But it is ISIS, the relative newcomer, that has escalated its Internet efforts to the point that governments are beginning to see winning the Internet as central to the fight against terrorism. Much of ISIS's online strategy stems from lessons learned while its members were still in al-Qaida's fold. But when the groups split apart, their online strategies diverged as well-especially in how they use social media.
See the full article (National Journal, 10/9/14, Laura Ryan)
Featured Story from the USIP Foreign Policy Peace Channel
As the United States and its allies launch airstrikes against Sunni militants in Syria to stop the progress of the Islamic State, the central question of what role America's Arab and Islamic allies will play has lingered without any clear answer. The specific terms of a partnership have remained frustratingly vague, indicating a disconnect between the United States and regional powers. Understanding and addressing this disconnect is crucial, because banding together to quash a vicious, well-funded new threat that has swept across Iraq and Syria with impressive speed has obvious advantages for all involved.
Technology and Science
A report released Monday indicates the Department of Defense has dramatically shifted its views towards climate change, and has already begun to treat the phenomenon as a significant threat to national security. Climate change, the Pentagon writes, requires immediate action on the part of the U.S. Military. The impacts of climate change may cause instability in other countries. These developments could undermine already-fragile governments that are unable to respond effectively or challenge currently-stable governments.
See the full article(Newsweek, 10/14/14, Zoe Schlanger)
The most sinister change in the way war is perceived through the media springs from what just a few years ago seemed to be a wholly positive development. Satellite television and the use of information supplied by YouTube, bloggers and social media were portrayed as liberating innovations at the beginning of the Arab Spring. The monopoly on information imposed by police states from Tunisia to Egypt and Bahrain had been broken. But as the course of the uprising in Syria has shown, satellite television and the Internet can also be used to spread propaganda and hate.
See the full article(Newsweek, 10/13/14, Patrick Cockburn)
Over and over, we have the evidence that it is not Isis that "radicalises" Muslims before they head off to Syria but the internet. The belief, the absolute conviction that the screen contains truth - that the "message" really is the ultimate verity - has still not been fully recognised for what it is; an extraordinary lapse in our critical consciousness that exposes us to the rawest of emotions - both total love and total hatred - without the means to correct this imbalance. The "virtual" has dropped out of "virtual reality".
See the full article(The Independent, 10/12/14, Robert Fisk)
A top State Department official said the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has a "dark, nasty" online presence and that the U.S. needed to be more aggressive to counter the group on social media. ISIS has used its presence online as a recruitment tool, including multiple videos showing beheadings of U.S. and British citizens. The U.S. faces a challenge trying to reach out to disaffected young men from the Middle East who may be drawn to support ISIS.
See the full article(The Hill, 10/10/14, Mario Trujillo)
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