USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace

Center of Innovation for Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, December 30, 2010 - January 5, 2011

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

Media and Journalism

The Man Who Helped Shape War Coverage
As one of hundreds of journalists who were able to accompany U.S. fighting forces in Iraq under the Pentagon's embedding program, I feel a special sense of gratitude to Barry Zorthian, who died in a Washington hospital on Dec. 30 at the age of 90. That's because Zorthian, the chief spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Saigon during the massive American military buildup in Vietnam from 1964-68, was instrumental in persuading the Pentagon to adopt the practice of embedding journalists into frontline combat units in Iraq -- and Afghanistan -- based on his experience in Vietnam.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Al Eisele, 1/4/10)
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Iraq: Free Speech Protests in Kurdistan
More than a thousand protesters took to the main street in Erbil, the Kurdish regional capital, to condemn a new law requiring all public demonstrations to have government permits. Protesters said the law was part of a broader crackdown on free speech in Iraq's semiautonomous Kurdistan region. In the past six months, the government has sued at least 60 writers or media organizations for publishing work critical of the government, according to the Kurdistan Journalists' Syndicate.
See the full article (New York Times, Namo Abdulla, 1/4/11) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Media Groups Urge Belarus to Free Journalists
Media freedom groups have urged Belarus to release dozens of journalists believed to remain in custody more than two weeks after a violent crackdown on opposition demonstrators protesting the reelection of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka. The International Press Institute and its affiliated South and East Europe Media Organization voiced "alarm" at the arrests and jail sentences handed down to journalists.
See the full article (RFE/RL, 1/4/11)
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Toppled: How the Press Spun the 'Saddam Statue' Moment
U.S. Marines did not stage the toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue in 2003 for the media's benefit. But they recognized - and nudged along- the camera-friendly moment in Baghdad's Firdos Square. The press lapped it up, amplified it, and and wound up broadcasting the iconic (and deeply misleading) footage around the planet. Call it the press' "Mission Accomplished" moment. With a bit of military help.
See the full article (Wired, Spencer Ackerman, 1/3/11)
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Arab Press Angered by Coptic Church Blast
The Egyptian press has reacted angrily to the suicide bombing that targeted a Coptic church in Alexandria on New Year's Day, with several papers saying it was an attack on all Egyptians, not just Christians. The state and opposition press called on their compatriots to unite in the face of terrorism but two papers suggested the underlying causes of sectarian tension should be tackled.
See the full article (BBC, 1/3/11)
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Condemned Iranian Woman Tells Journalists 'Leave My Case Alone'
An Iranian woman whose stoning sentence sparked international outrage has appeared before journalists, urging them not to interfere and saying "many people" had exploited her case. It is the latest in a series of officially arranged appearances by the condemned mother of two, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, and adds another twist in a long-running prosecution whose brutal sentence shocked Iranians and the world.
See the full article (RFE/RL, 1/2/11)
Click to read "The Role of Women in Global Security," a USIP Special Report by Valerie Norville.
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Expats' 'Daily Show'-style VOA Program Enthralls Iranians, Irks Their Government
Lately, a couple of irreverent expats in Washington have captivated Iranians with a show that pokes fun at the absurdities of life in the Islamic republic. Operating out of Voice of America's Persian News Network, Kambiz Hosseini and Saman Arbabi have started a weekly program, "Parazit," that has drawn comparisons to Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" for its satiric take on Iran's news of the day. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a favorite target.
See the full article (Washington Post, Tara Bahrampour, 12/31/10)
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Sri Lanka Bans BBC Again From War Inquiry Panel
The BBC has been banned for a third time from covering an official panel's investigation into the final phase of the Sri Lanka civil war. The panel visited Tamil prisoners at a top-security jail in Boosa in the south of the country. But the BBC correspondent and a number of Sri Lankan journalists were turned away at the prison gates.
See the full article (BBC, 12/30/10)
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Advocacy Group: 57 Reporters Killed in 2010
A total of 57 journalists worldwide were killed this year, media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders said, adding that fewer reporters are being killed in war zones while more are targeted by criminals or traffickers. The death toll was down 25 percent from 2009, when 76 journalists were killed in connection with their jobs.
See the full article (AP, 12/30/10)
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Internet and Social Media

Media and International Conflict: Where We've Been and What's Ahead for 2011
A Taliban video is released showing a US soldier captured in Afghanistan. Google confronts censors in China. Jihad Jane is arrested in Pennsylvania for using online chat rooms to recruit terrorists. Hardly a day goes by when we don't hear about media being used in new ways either to promote peace or to promote conflict.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Sheldon Himelfarb, 1/5/11)
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Google's Africa Play
As Google's presence grows everywhere, it isn't neglecting Africa and is betting on the power the internet will bring to transform business and society on the continent - even if it remains one of the least connected parts of the world. Senior Google official Nelson Mattos has noted that any company that wants to be successful in Africa will have to do a good job at providing content relevant to the local market.
See the full article (Reuters, 1/4/11)
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Middle East in 2011: Social Media to Take on Governments
It has been a roller-coaster decade for the media in the Middle East and North Africa -- many who have turned to the Internet to write about human rights and corruption find themselves facing increasingly restrictive measures by the authorities. While millions of people helped shape the media landscape in Europe and North America, in other parts of the world journalists critical of their governments were often accused of "harming the public interest".
See the full article (Huffington Post, Firas Al-Atraqchi, 12/31/10)
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WikiLeaks Cable Dump Reveals Flaws of State Department's Information-Sharing Tool
Before the infamous leak, the 250,000 State Department cables acquired by anti-secrecy activists resided in a database so obscure that few diplomats had heard of it. It had a bureaucratic name, Net-Centric Diplomacy, and served an important mission: the rapid sharing of information that could help uncover threats against the United States. But like many bureaucratic inventions, it expanded beyond what its creators had imagined.
See the full article (Washington Post, Joby Warrick, 12/31/10)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

Peace Must Be Waged - George Clooney
George Clooney tells us why UN peacekeeping is essential to global peace and stability around the world, in places like Sudan, Bosnia, Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Clooney believes in a strong UN peacekeeping force.
Visit PeaceMedia
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