USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, July 28 - August 3, 2011

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

Under Fire in Drug war, Mexico's Media Falls Silent
For the last two years, northeastern Mexico's Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas states have been ravaged by bloody battles between rival drug gangs and horrific massacres of migrants. But don't expect to read much about it in the local media. Reporters in large swathes of the country now censor their own coverage, fearful of reprisals by ruthless drug gangs and corrupt police on their payroll.
See the full article (Reuters, Anahi Rama, 8/3/11)
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BBC Journalist Arrested in Egypt is Released
A BBC journalist arrested by Egyptian police in Cairo has been released, the corporation said on Tuesday. Shaimaa Khalil was detained on Monday after soldiers and riot police cleared a three-week sit-in in Tahrir Square in the Egyptian capital. Kevin Bakhurst, controller of the BBC News channel and deputy head of the BBC newsroom, said on Twitter: "BBC - A BBC producer who was arrested by Egyptian police in Cairo has been released. Shaimaa Khalil was arrested in Tahrir Square on Monday."
See the full article (Guardian, John Plunkett, 8/2/11)
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Ukrainian Journalist's Apartment Set On Fire
Ukrainian and international NGOs are calling on officials to accelerate an investigation into an arson attack on the apartment of an investigative journalist. Oleksiy Matsuka, 28, is chief editor of the Donetsk regional website News of Donbass. Someone barricaded his apartment door with bags of cement on July 31 and set fire to it.
See the full article (RFE/RL, 8/2/11)
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Al Jazeera English Launches in New York City
Six months after New York City news junkies flocked to Al Jazeera English's website for up-to-the-second coverage of the Egyptian uprising, they'll now have a chance to watch the 24-hour news network on its original platform: television. At midnight, Al Jazeera English launched in New York City on Time Warner Cable, a major step in the network's goal of expanding further into the U.S. cable market and a chance to reach two million households in a world capital of culture and commerce.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Michael Calderone, 8/1/11)
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Sri Lankan Journalist Attacked 'With Iron Bars'
An ethnic Tamil journalist in Sri Lanka's formerly embattled north was brutally attacked with iron bars, police said on Saturday, the latest in a string of assaults on the nation's media. Gnanasundaram Kuhanathan, news editor of the Tamil-language daily Uthayan, was attacked by a gang of men wielding iron bars on Friday near his home in the area formerly held by separatist Tamil rebels, police said.
See the full article (AFP, Mel Gunasekeraw, 7/30/11)
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Internet and Social Media

China's Ruling Party Urges Cadres to Become Better Microbloggers
China's ruling Communist Party is urging its officials to become more proficient at microblogging. An article in its flagship newspaper, People's Daily, says the ability to perform in cyberspace reflects a cadre's all-around capability. The article, titled "How to speak in a microblog era," says officials must give up speaking in bureaucratic cliches. It says information should be shared in an equal way, and officials should always tell the truth.
See the full article (VOA, 8/3/11)
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The Pentagon Enters the Social Web With a Call for Memetrackers
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the DoD progenitors of revolutionary tech like passive radar and the Internet, is calling for research applications of social media to strategic communication. According to an agency announcement (PDF), DARPA is looking to shell out $42 million in funding for "innovative approaches that enable revolutionary advances in science, devices, or systems."
See the full article (Atlantic, Jared Keller, 8/2/11)
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Mapping Violence Against Journalists in Afghanistan
Last week, Ahmed Omed Khpulwak, a 25-year old stringer for the BBC, was killed in a suicide bomb attack in southern Afghanistan. Khpulwak's death, as the many that came before it, is a tragedy and a reminder of the violence and danger journalists covering Afghanistan routinely face. There have been 266 reported incidents of violence against journalists covering the country.
See the full article (Columbia Journalism Review, Erika Fry, 8/1/11)
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Man Jailed for Calling for Jihadist Attacks on British Lawmakers who Voted for Iraq War
A man who posted messages on an Islamic extremist website calling on Muslims to attack British lawmakers has been jailed for 12 years. Bilal Zaheer Ahmad posted the threat against U.K. lawmakers who voted for the Iraq war on the U.S.-based on Nov. 3 last year.
See the full article (AP, 7/29/11)
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In Baring Facts of Train Crash, Blogs Erode China Censorship
"After all the wind and storm, what's going on with the high-speed train?" read the prophetic message posted last Saturday evening on the Chinese microblog Sina Weibo. "It's crawling slower than a snail. I hope nothing happens to it." They were a few short sentences, typed by a young girl with the online handle Smm Miao. But five days later, the torrent that followed them was still flooding this nation's Internet, and lapping at the feet of government bureaucrats, censors and the state-controlled press.
See the full article (New York Times, Michael Wines and Sharon LaFraniere, 7/28/11) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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What's New from PeaceMedia

A Citizen-Centric Internet - Rebecca MacKinnon
Global Voices co-founder Rebecca MacKinnon, says citizens must hold corporations accountable in order for the internet to evolve in a "citizen-centric" manner. In a TED talk on July 12, 2011 in Edinburgh, Scotland she describes how the internet has become a primary communication channel between citizens and governments, but warns that there is a corporate layer of "internet sovereigns" between the two.
Visit PeaceMedia
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