USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup



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Subject: USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup



United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation for Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, February 3 - 9, 2011

Media and Journalism

Turmoil in Egypt

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

Vietnam-era Journalists See New Dangers Today
During the Vietnam era, helicopters were the bane of photographers at war, necessary evils that allowed them to move around but left them exposed to gunfire and breakdowns, the panel said. Today, photojournalists face new perils and are unprotected by the technological advances that allow some print reporters to cover stories from a distance.
See the full article (Washington Post, Elaine Ganley, 2/7/11)
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Out of Country: A Reporter's Disturbing Expulsion from Russia
Luke Harding had been in London working on the Guardian's coverage of WikiLeaks and writing a quickie book about the subject. When he got to passport control [at Moscow's Domodedovo airport], Harding's passport was confiscated and he was locked in a deportation cell.
See the full article (Foreign Policy, Julia Ioffe, 2/7/11)
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Vietnam Journalist Burned to Death
Vietnamese journalist Le Hoang Hung has died from severe burns after being attacked in his home. A man doused him in chemicals and set him on fire. Hung, a reporter with the newspaper Nguoi Lao Dong (Labourer), died at the Ho Chi Minh City hospital at the weekend after being attacked on 20 January.
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 2/3/11)
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Peace on Earth Film Festival 2011: Righting the Balance of Power
33 films [are] being featured in Chicago's third annual Peace on Earth Film Festival, to be held Feb. 25-27 at the city's Cultural Center. The entire event, which also features a panel discussion with a number of the filmmakers, who are coming this year from Russia, Australia, Korea and the U.K., as well as the United States, along with a panel of local peacemakers is free of charge.
See the full article (Huffington Post, 2/3/11)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "'The Fruit of Our Labor': Afghan Perspectives in Film," on February 25 at 2:30pm.
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Turmoil in Egypt

Google Manager Complicates Role in Egypt Protests
The demonstrations in Egypt have left Google in a bind, trying to maintain a careful diplomatic distance from one of its own young employees who has become a hero to protesting crowds in Cairo - in an uprising that the company's own technology had a small role in advancing. Google has taken political stances in the past, most notably last year, when it opposed China's censorship laws.
See the full article (Washington Post, Jordan Robertson, 2/9/11)
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Al-Jazeera's Coverage of Egypt Protests may Hasten Revolution in World News
Now something rather strange has begun to happen to the Arabic language news broadcaster Al-Jazeera and the English language channel it launched nearly five years ago; American viewers have begun to demand it. The Qatar-based channel's acclaimed coverage of the Egyptian crisis has been referred to as the broadcaster's "CNN moment", doing for Al-Jazeera English what the first Gulf war did for CNN, pushing it to the forefront of the public's consciousness.
See the full article (Guardian, John Plunkett and Josh Halliday, 2/7/11)
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2009 Cable Tells of Mubarak Resisting U.S. Calls for Reform
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak "seeks to avoid conflict and spare his people from the violence he predicts would emerge from unleashed personal and civil liberties. In Mubarak's mind, it is far better to let a few individuals suffer than risk chaos for society as a whole." Those words were written almost two years ago in a May 19, 2009, cable - classified "secret" - from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo [released by WikiLeaks over the past week].
See the full article (Washington Post, Walter Pincus, 2/7/11)
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U.S. Has Secret Tools to Force Internet on Dictators
When Hosni Mubarak shut down Egypt's internet and cellphone communications, it seemed that all U.S. officials could do was ask him politely to change his mind. But the American military does have a second set of options. There's just one wrinkle. "It could be considered an act of war," says John Arquilla, a leading military futurist. The U.S. military has no shortage of devices - many of them classified - that could restore connectivity to a restive populace cut off from the outside world by its rulers.
See the full article (Wired, Spencer Ackerman, 2/7/11)
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Google Executive is Released in Egypt
Google executive Wael Ghonim was released Monday in Egypt, the company said, more than a week after he went missing. "Ghonim's Twitter account, which had not had a posting since he went missing January 28, carried a tweet around 8 p.m. in Cairo. "Freedom is a bless (sic) that deserves fighting for it," the tweet said, ending with the hashtag "#Jan25," a reference to the protests in Egypt.
See the full article (CNN, 2/7/11)
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Egypt Crisis: Hosni Mubarak Loses Control of State Media
Mr. Mubarak was dealt a significant setback as the state-controlled Al-Ahram, Egypt's second oldest newspaper and one of the most famous media publications in the Middle East, abandoned its long-standing position of slavish support for the regime. In a front-page leader, the newspaper's editor-in-chief, Osama Saraya hailed the "nobility" of what he described as a "revolution."
See the full article (Telegraph, Adrian Blomfield and Adrian Michaels, 2/7/11)
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Movement Began With Outrage and a Facebook Page That Gave It an Outlet
If there is a face to the revolt that has sprouted in Egypt, it may be the face of Khaled Said. Mr. Said, a 28-year-old Egyptian businessman, was pulled from an Internet cafe in Alexandria last June by two plainclothes police officers, who witnesses say then beat him to death in the lobby of a residential building.
See the full article (New York Times, Jennifer Preston, 2/5/11) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Told in Tweets, Egypt Conflict Riveting, Confusing
Never before has an extended conflict provided so much on-the-ground information to a global audience. Much has been made of social media's role in organizing the protests within Cairo and around Egypt. Despite this unprecedented access to first-person accounts, however, it's not clear whether social media is adding to global understanding or just adding to the confusion.
See the full article (MSNBC, Bob Sullivan, 2/4/11)
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YouTube Partners With Curation Startup to Chronicle Protests in Egypt
As with most major events that have taken place in the past five years, YouTube is arguably the best place to find on-the-ground footage of the protests that started in Egypt on January 25. Searching for this footage, however, often feels like the modern equivalent to the classic needle in haystack dilemma. YouTube asked Storyful, a real-time curation company, to help make it easier for YouTube users to find the most meaningful videos of the uprising by putting together playlists for each day of the protests.
See the full article (Mashable, Sarah Kessler, 2/4/11)
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Egypt's Protesters Rediscover The Fax Machine
Amid the new-order demands of recent protest in Egypt, one old-order piece of technology has regained prominence: the fax machine. When Internet service and social media were disrupted in late January - allegedly blocked by the regime of President Hosni Mubarak - faxes were sent "by online activists and others who wanted to contact people inside Egypt and pass on information about how to restore net access."
See the full article (NPR, Linton Weeks, 2/4/11)
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Trolls Pounce on Facebook's Tahrir Square
Cairo's Tahrir Square is a war zone, thanks to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's goon squad. But the crackdown isn't limited to physical spaces where the protest movement congregates. Some of the new up-with-Mubarak commentary at the Facebook page We Are All Khalid Said is classic concern-trolling. Some is pure abuse, questioning the loyalties of the page's administrator. And some are blatant attempts to disrupt the protests by claiming upcoming rallies have been canceled.
See the full article (Wired, Spencer Ackerman, 2/4/11)
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2 Detained Reporters Saw Police's Methods
We - Souad Mekhennet, Nicholas Kulish and a driver, who is not a journalist and was not involved in the demonstrations - were detained Thursday afternoon while driving into Cairo. We were stopped at a checkpoint and thus began a 24-hour journey through Egyptian detention, ending with - we were told by the soldiers who delivered us there - the secret police.
See the full article (New York Times, Souad Mekhennet and Nicholas Kulish, 2/4/11) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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'Hacktivists' Launch Second Attack on Egypt
No sooner had the government of Egypt restored Internet service to its citizens early Wednesday than the loosely organized cybervandals known as Anonymous were back at work trying to knock official Egyptian websites offline. "We want freedom," self-declared Anonymous member Gregg Housh [said]. "It's as simple as that. We're sick of oppressive governments encroaching on people."
See the full article (MSNBC, Paul Wagenseil, 2/3/11)
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Egypt Protests: Journalists Under Attack on an 'Unprecedented' Scale
Reports of severe attacks and detentions for journalists working in Egypt paint a dark picture of an orchestrated attempt to shut down the information flow from a country in turmoil. There have been more than 100 incidents of beatings, detentions, and assaults on journalists.
See the full article (Christian Science Monitor, Gloria Goodale, 2/3/11)
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Internet and Social Media

US Welcomes Syria Access to Facebook, YouTube
An aide to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday welcomed Syria's decision to give its people direct access to Facebook and You Tube, but voiced fears that users would run risks without freedom of expression. In Damascus, Internet users said that for the first time since 2007, Syrians could directly log onto Facebook and YouTube without going through proxy servers abroad.
See the full article (AP, 2/9/11)
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Russia Launches Initiative To Police Internet
One day there will be thousands of volunteers out there patrolling the Russian Internet. That at least is the dream of a new organization launched this week, the League of Internet Safety. The league's primary purpose in the next year will be to fight against child pornography, organizers say. But they also talked about eventually expanding that mission to policing other "negative" content.
See the full article (RFE/RL, Kevin O'Flynn, 2/8/11)
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Should Spies Spend More Time on Twitter?
With so much more human interaction taking place online governing authorities are interested. Intelligence agencies have long focused attention on extremist websites to detect crime and militancy. But the idea of having state spies, police and other authority figures watching mainstream Twitter and Facebook feeds closely for signs of dissent might make some people rather uneasy - particularly in countries with a record of extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses.
See the full article (MSNBC, Peter Apps, 2/8/11)
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US Lawmaker Wants to See Alleged WikiLeaks Source
A US lawmaker deeply critical of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan asked the Pentagon on Friday to let him visit an imprisoned soldier held on suspicion of leaking secrets to WikiLeaks. Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich made the request in a letter to US Defense Secretary Robert Gates that echoed charges from rights groups that the soldier, Bradley Manning, has been held in unduly severe conditions.
See the full article (AFP, 2/5/11)
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Traditional Papers Didn't Know How to Handle WikiLeaks
Much of the traditional media has seemed lost on how to handle [WikiLeaks], this hi-tech interloper. As a result, too much of the coverage has been meta - focusing on questions about whether the leaks were justified - while too little has dealt with the details of what has actually been revealed and what those revelations say about the wisdom of America's ongoing effort in Afghanistan. There's a reason why the Obama administration has been so upset about these leaks.
See the full article (Guardian, Arianna Huffington, 2/5/11)
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Why Some Twitter Posts Catch On, and Some Don't
We already know that people often influence one another's behavior. Now, however, researchers at Cornell and a few other universities like Stanford are finding patterns in the way information catches on in cyberspace. Their models could be useful for politicians, social activists, news organizations, marketers, public relations teams and anyone else trying to reach their target audience - or market.
See the full article (New York Times, Natasha Singer, 2/5/11) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Politician Nominates WikiLeaks for Nobel Peace Prize
A Norwegian politician said he has nominated WikiLeaks for a Nobel Peace Prize, citing the website's contribution to "democracy and freedom of speech" worldwide. Nominations for the Peace Prize closed on Tuesday. Stortinget parliamentarian Snorre Valen said he nominated WikiLeaks because it has helped "redraw the map of information freedom."
See the full article (CNN, 2/3/11)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

The Elders: Middle East Q&A
Just after returning from their recent trip to the Middle East, the Elders, an independent group of retired eminent global leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela, asked their supporters around the world to send in their questions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Here, Ela Bhatt, Mary Robinson and Lakhdar Brahimi respond to some of the questions.
Visit PeaceMedia
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