USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation for Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, February 10 - 16, 2011

Media and Journalism

Turmoil in Egypt

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

CBS Reporter Lara Logan Assaulted in Egypt: CBS News
CBS correspondent Lara Logan was beaten and sexually assaulted by a mob while covering the jubilation in Cairo's Tahrir Square on the day Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down. She was one of dozens of journalists attacked during the three weeks of protests throughout Egypt.
See the full article (Reuters, Bernd Debusmann Jr. and Mark Egan, 2/15/11)
Click here to read more about the Communication for Peacebuilding (CfP) priority grant program and to download the call for proposals.
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Turkish Journalist Arrested Over Alleged Conspiracy to Topple Government
Police on Monday searched the premises of a dissident news website and detained its owner over possible links to an alleged secularist network accused of conspiring to topple the Turkish government. Police raided the Istanbul headquarters of the Oda TV website and the homes of its owner, journalist and author Soner Yalcin.
See the full article (AP, 2/14/11)
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Burma: Australian Publisher Ross Dunkley Arrested
The Australian owner of English-language newspaper Myanmar Times has been arrested in Burma. Ross Dunkley, who is also the paper's editor-in-chief, is reported have been detained under Burmese immigration law. Media rights groups say Burma has one of the worst records for press freedom. The mainstream media is mainly state-controlled and privately-owned publications are subject to strict censorship.
See the full article (BBC, 2/12/11)
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Inside the Muslim (Journalist's) Mind
The Pakistani public, long skeptical of American goals in Afghanistan and the Muslim world, is now outraged over Washington's insistence that the authorities release a former United States Special Forces soldier charged with killing two Pakistani men last month. In this instance, as always, Pakistan's tumultuous news media is the prism through which United States policy is reflected to the people, who have found themselves at the center of America's struggle against terrorism.
See the full article (New York Times, Lawrence Pintak and Syed Javed Nazir, 2/12/11) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article.
Click to read about "How Pakistan Negotiates with the United States," a USIP publication written by Howard B. Schaffer and Teresita C. Schaffer.
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Turmoil in Egypt

Egypt Leaders Found 'Off' Switch for Internet
Epitaphs for the Mubarak government all note that the mobilizing power of the Internet was one of the Egyptian opposition's most potent weapons. But quickly lost in the swirl of revolution was the government's ferocious counterattack, a dark achievement that many had thought impossible in the age of global connectedness.
See the full article (New York Times, James Glanz and John Markoff, 2/15/11) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Power of Twitter, Facebook in Egypt Crucial, Says U.N. Rep
While "Tipping Point" author Malcolm Gladwell and others pooh-pooh the influence social media has on social revolution in countries such as Egypt, American U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice recognized the "enormous impact" of Twitter and Facebook on the world's stage. "Governments are increasingly cognizant of their power," Rice said Thursday morning during a town hall meeting at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco.
See the full article (MSNBC, Helen A. S. Popkin, 2/11/11)
Click to read "On the Issues: Egypt's "Winds of Change"," by USIP's Abiodun Williams.
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Interview: Former Nile TV Anchor Says 'Fear Barrier' Has Been Broken
Egyptian television anchor Shahira Amin's sudden resignation on February 3 from state-run Nile TV came as a shock amid the ongoing protests and highlighted the country's restrictive media environment. She attributed her departure to her disenchantment with Nile TV, which she says came under pressure from the Egyptian Interior Ministry. After her action was followed by others in Egyptian media, she said: "The fear barrier has finally been broken."
See the full article (RFE/RL, Joseph Hammond and Shahira Amin, 2/11/11)
Click to read "On the Issues: Egypt's Transition," by USIP's Steven Heydemann.
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Egypt's Leading Newspaper Explains Itself
The last place Egyptians could count on to get accurate information during their revolution was the state-run media, which at first tried to downplay the events. But before stepping down from office, President Mubarak began losing his grip on journalists. Gamal Zayda, managing editor of Egypt's most widely circulated daily newspaper Al Ahram, explains why they decided to take a stand against Mubarak's propaganda machine.
See the full article (NPR, Brooke Gladstone and Gamal Zayda, 2/11/11)
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Has Egypt Revived America's Taste for International News?
The tumult in Cairo got more press in the United States than did recent crises in Afghanistan, Iraq and Haiti, according to a new report. Around-the-clock coverage from Tahrir Square has helped turn the uprising in Egypt into the most-covered international news story of the last four years, according to the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ).
See the full article (Time, Emily Rauhala, 2/10/11)
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Social Media, Egypt's Quandary
The uprising in Egypt has provoked the familiar "realism-versus-idealism" foreign policy debate. What we have paid less attention to is that the demonstrations have forced some of the world's hottest technology companies to engage in a very similar debate. The conclusions these technorati end up drawing may be as significant as the verdicts of Western governments.
See the full article (Reuters, Chrystia Freeland, 2/10/11)
Click to read "On the Issues: All Eyes on the Egyptian Military," by USIP's Graeme Bannerman.
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Egypt Takes Aim at Al-Jazeera for Protest Coverage
The Egyptian government has made clear it believes a chief culprit stoking the anti-government protests roiling the country is pan-Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera. Security forces have detained, and later released, at least nine Al-Jazeera correspondents since the protests erupted last month.
See the full article (AP, 2/10/11)
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Internet and Social Media

Clinton's State Department Fired Up About Being Wired Up
Blogging and tweeting are now part of every diplomat's job description. At any given moment you can find someone like the top official on Latin America tweeting in Spanish about his latest trip to Peru, spokesman P.J. Crowley delivering U.S. policy prescriptions for Egypt in 140 characters or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton herself posting podcasts on the State Department website and soliciting questions from the public on its blog, Dipnote.
See the full article (CNN, Elise Labott, 2/16/11)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Blogs & Bullets: Social Media and the Struggle for Political Change," on February 24 at 4:45 pm.
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WikiLeaks Row Intensifies as US Makes 'Privacy' Move Against Twitter
The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, praised the role of social networks such as Twitter in promoting freedom - at the same time as the US government was in court seeking to invade the privacy of Twitter users. Lawyers for civil rights organisations appeared before a judge in Alexandria, Virginia, battling against a US government order to disclose the details of private Twitter accounts in the WikiLeaks row.
See the full article (Guardian, Ewen MacAskill, 2/15/11)
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US to Boost Support for Cyber Dissidents
The United States stands with cyber dissidents and democracy activists from the Middle East to China and beyond, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday. She pledged to expand the Obama administration's efforts to foil Internet repression in autocratic states.
See the full article (AP, Matthew Lee, 2/15/11)
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U.S. State Department Starts Farsi Twitter Feed
The U.S. State Department launched a new Farsi-language Twitter feed Sunday in a bid to connect with internet users in Iran. "US State Dept recognizes historic role of social media among Iranians. We want to join in your conversations," the department said in its first tweet. The feed was launched just one day before opposition leaders and activists in Iran have called for a protest.
See the full article (CNN, 2/14/11)
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Twitter Translation Center Uses Crowd-sourced Translations for New Languages
Twitter launched its Twitter Translation Center on Monday in an effort to turn its users into translating volunteers who will help convert the social media company's products into new languages. The launch of the Translation Center comes as many Middle Eastern countries are protesting for democratic reforms in their nations and using social media such as Twitter to help organize demonstrations.
See the full article (Los Angeles Times, 2/14/11)
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Facebook Officials Keep Quiet on Its Role in Revolts
With Facebook playing a starring role in the revolts that toppled governments in Tunisia and Egypt, you might think the company's top executives would use this historic moment to highlight its role as the platform for democratic change. Instead, they really do not want to talk about it.
See the full article (New York Times, Jennifer Preston, 2/14/11) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article.
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US Must 'Ramp Up' Fight on Internet Censorship
Faced with aggressive public outreach by China, the United States must ramp up its own efforts and do a better job fighting Internet censorship, a Senate committee report says. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee report, which is to be released on Tuesday, said the United States was languishing behind as China increasingly molds public opinion through its cultural institutes and state-run media.
See the full article (AFP, Shaun Tandon, 2/13/11)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"The Clock is Ticking" - The Girl Effect
The Girl Effect is a global campaign, mobilizing to empower young girls in the developing world with the tools to better their lives. This movement is driven by champions around the globe; created by the Nike Foundation, with critical financial and intellectual contributions by the NoVo Foundation and Nike Inc. and in collaboration with key partners such as the United Nations Foundation and the Coalition for Adolescent Girls.
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