USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


To the Subscribers of the Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding News Roundup,

As you may have read, the House of Representatives voted last week to de-fund the United States Institute of Peace as part of an overall major budget cutting bill. We were very disappointed but also very determined to move ahead with building support in the U.S. Senate where the action next moves.

For 27 years, USIP has occupied a unique space as the only Congressionally funded national organization dedicated to international conflict prevention, management and resolution. We are the pioneers of the field of interfaith dialogue, religion and peacebuilding, rule of law, and many other critical sectors of building peace.

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For more information about developments, please check our website at or read "No Compromises on National Security," by USIP's President, Richard Solomon (Politico, 2/17/11).

Center of Innovation for Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, February 17 - 23, 2011

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

**Click here to subscribe to USIP's Science, Technology and Peacebuilding News Roundup.**

Media and Journalism

Iraqi Forces Raid Journalists' Office Overnight
Gunmen raided the office of an Iraqi journalists' organization Wednesday, taking equipment such as flak jackets, laptops and video cameras, the director of the Baghdad-based independent group said. The men wore black, military-style uniforms, said Ziyad al-Ajili, head of the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, adding that he did not know where they were from. A Baghdad military spokesman told The Associated Press that the men were part of the Iraqi army; he gave few other details.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Hamid Ahmed, 2/23/11)
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Report: Journalist Missing in Libya
A journalist critical of the rule of Libyan strongman Moamer Gaddafi has been missing since the start of protests in the North African nation on February 17, a media watchdog said. Atef al-Atash disappeared after filing a report for broadcaster Al-Jazeera from Libya's second-largest city of Benghazi, the New-York based Committee to Protect Journalists said Tuesday.
See the full article (Monsters and Critics, 2/23/11)
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War, Boredom, and Journalism
The unrest in the Middle East of late has proven that the romantic notion of the intrepid reporter running off to war is alive and well. Even in articles and newscasts that strive for nuanced approaches, we see a character we love to believe in and rarely challenge: the selfless journalist reporting or tweeting from the fray. Which is why the war correspondent David Axe's new graphic novel "War is Boring: Bored Stiff, Scared to Death in the World's Worst War Zones," with vivid art by Matt Bors, is worth taking note of.
See the full article (New Yorker, Elissa Lerner, 2/22/11)
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Arrests in Zimbabwe for Seeing Videos
Dozens of students, trade unionists and political activists who gathered to watch Al Jazeera and BBC news reports on the uprisings that brought down autocrats in Tunisia and Egypt have been arrested on suspicion of plotting to oust President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.
See the full article (New York Times, Celia W. Dugger, 2/21/11) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Israeli Media 'Fears' the New Egypt
Over the past three weeks the Israel media has been extremely interested in Egypt. During the climatic days of the unprecedented demonstrations, television news programmes spent most of their airtime covering the protests, while the daily papers dedicated half the news and opinion pages to the unfolding events. Rather than excitement at watching history in the making, however, the dominant attitude here, particularly on television, was of anxiety.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, Neve Gordon, 2/21/11)
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Germany Says Iran Meeting Necessary to Free Journalists
Chancellor Angela Merkel's office on Monday addressed criticism of her foreign minister's decision to meet the Iranian president over the weekend, saying that it was the price to pay for the release of two German journalists and that it did not change Germany's criticisms of the Iranian government.
See the full article (New York Times, Judy Dempsey, 2/21/11)*NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Overnight Attack Silences Independent TV Station in Kurdistan
Masked gunmen attacked and burned the an independent television station in Iraq's Kurdistan region Sunday, wounding a guard, police officials and the broadcast company said. The attack occurred as hundreds of protesters demonstrated in central Sulaimaniya in northern Iraq, following clashes with security forces in previous days that left one person dead and more than 70 injured.
See the full article (CNN, 2/20/11)
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Women Journalists Dodge Bullets, Sexual Assault
Out here [in Iraq and Afghanistan], there's a sisterhood of female journalists. Even if you'd never be best friends at home, there's a mutual respect among women who live with danger and discomfort to do their jobs. The attack on Lara Logan, a veteran of the world's war zones, was not just chilling but deeply, deeply sad.
See the full article (NPR, Jane Arraf, 2/18/11)
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Egypt Crisis: Al-Ahram's Own Revolution in Cairo
Not quite as old as the pyramids from which its name is derived, al-Ahram was founded in 1875 and has, over time, become a newspaper, publishing house, think-tank and cultural centre. But it is also owned by the government and so, in the wake of Egypt's recent tumultuous events, it has become an organisation at war with itself. Some are calling it al-Ahram's own revolution.
See the full article (BBC, Paul Adams, 2/17/11)
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Internet and Social Media

Syrian Blogger Jailed as Social Media Helps Protestors in Middle East
A veteran blogger in Syria was jailed Sunday -- yet another example of just how important to demonstrators, and threatening to government regimes, the Internet can be. The blogger, Ahmad Abu Khair, was arrested early Sunday morning while driving from the coastal town of Banias to Damascus, according to a Facebook group calling for his release and the citizen-journalism advocacy group Global Voices.
See the full article (Los Angeles Times, 2/21/11)
Click to read "On the Issues: Internet Freedom and Social Media," by USIP's Sheldon Himelfarb.
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Internet Restored in Libya, Google Maps Shows Up-To-Date Info
The Internet has been restored to Libya after the country shut down its network links to the outside world for six hours last night. Now that the Internet is back, protesters are making the most of their connectivity by mapping tweets using Google Maps.
See the full article (Mashable, Charlie White, 2/20/11)
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To Celebrate The #Jan25 Revolution, Egyptian Names His Firstborn "Facebook"
According to Al-Ahram (one of the most popular newspapers in Egypt) a twenty-something Egyptian man has named his first born daughter "Facebook" in tribute to the role the social media service played in organizing the protests in Tahrir Square and beyond.
See the full article (Tech Crunch, Alexia Tsotsis, 2/19/11)
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'Anonymous' Hackers Help Iranian Activists Fight The Regime
In recent days, with Iranians taking to the streets to protest against the government, the country's Islamic authorities have boosted their censorship efforts in a bid to crush opposition activity online. This is where Anonymous and its "Operation: Iran" come in. The collective is providing users with special advice forums and tools to fight the Iranian government's censorship.
See the full article (RFE/RL, Kristin Deasy and Hannah Kaviani, 2/18/11)
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Cellphones Become the World's Eyes and Ears on Protests
For some of the protesters facing Bahrain's heavily armed security forces in and around Pearl Square in Manama, the most powerful weapon against shotguns and tear gas has been the tiny camera inside their cellphones. By uploading images of this week's violence in Manama, the capital, to Web sites like YouTube and yFrog, and then sharing them on Facebook and Twitter, the protesters upstaged government accounts and drew worldwide attention to their demands.
See the full article (New York Times, Jennifer Preston and Brian Stelter, 2/18/11) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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The Global Impact of the Internet
Is the internet helping to free people from oppressive governments or is it simply giving those authoritarian regimes another way to spy on dissidents? Ethan Zuckerman from Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society joins Brooke and Bob to discuss the internet's role - for better or for worse - in uprisings from Iran to Egypt.
See the full article (NPR, Brooke Gladstone and Ethan Zuckerman, 2/18/11)
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Internet Freedom And U.S. State Department
Twitter, Facebook and the Internet, and social media in general have played a significant role in the unrest throughout the Mideast. Alec Ross, a senior adviser for innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, [discusses] Internet freedom and why it's a top priority for the State Department.
See the full article (NPR, Michelle Norris and Alec Ross, 2/17/11)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"Nonviolent Action in the Islamic World" - Dr. Stephen Zunes
Dr. Stephen Zunes, Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, discusses the long history of strategic nonviolent action throughout the Islamic world, in the Middle East and beyond. Based in part on the social contract implied in Islamic teachings which advocate the withdrawal of obedience from unjust authority, nonviolent civil insurrections have played a major role in the struggle for freedom and human rights for more than a century.
Visit PeaceMedia
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