USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, September 22 - 28, 2011

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

Three State Media Journalists Arrested in Iran
Three Iranian journalists working for state media outlets are reported to have been arrested in recent weeks. The arrests of Mehrdad Sarjouei, Amir Ali Alamehzadeh, and Hadi Ahmadi add to a growing list of imprisoned journalists in Iran. Numerous independent media outlets have been closed down over the past decade and many journalists have been detained or forced to leave the country.
See the full article (RFE/RL, 9/27/11)
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'Resistance' Broadcaster Arrai Now in Kadhafi's Graces
In the upscale Yafur district of Damascus, Mishan al-Juburi has set aside part of his palatial compound to house Arrai, an Arabic television channel that has become the favoured forum for Moamer Kadhafi. The 250 square metre hangar is littered with satellite dishes, and a recording studio is separated by a clear-glass window from the office of the channel's director -- Juburi's 27-year-old daughter, Hawazen.
See the full article (AFP, Sammy Ketz, 9/27/11)
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Qaida Magazine Reduced To Reminiscing About 9/11
There's a classic line from The Sopranos when Tony grows annoyed with his gangster pals for reminiscing about their bygone glory days. "'Remember When' is the lowest form of conversation," the Jersey mob boss informs his crew. You know who needs to take that advice? al-Qaida. The latest issue of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula's online English-language lifestyle magazine, Inspire, doesn't bother trying to, um, inspire any homegrown extremists to blow up bits of America.
See the full article (Wired, Spencer Ackerman, 9/27/11)
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In the Beginning, There Were Citizen Journalists
Today, even though Americans have centuries of experience with independent reporting and self expression, the term "citizen journalism" still raises eyebrows. We've grown accustomed to a little authority behind our news, no matter how often those authorities are called into question. So I'd like to offer an answer from a group of first-time writers in an East African nation where few rural women complete an education, no less develop a professional career: because they can tell their truth the best.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Laura Paull, 9/27/11)
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The Landscape of War
The current conflict in Afghanistan has been ongoing for 10 years, and in that time many thousands of photographs have captured every aspect, often in grim detail. It's a country that has been the setting for many modern confrontations, from the Afghan-Anglo Wars of the 19th Century through to invasion by the Soviet Union in 1979, with many in-between; each has left its mark on the landscape. It is these traces, or marks of war, many of which overspill from their own time zones, that drew photographer Donovan Wylie to the country.
See the full article (BBC, Phil Coomes, 9/26/11)
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SKorean Reporters Detained by China near NKorea
Chinese authorities detained a group of South Korean journalists and others for a fourth day Friday on suspicion of spying while on a reporting trip near China's border with North Korea, officials in Seoul said. The Chosun Ilbo newspaper first reported the detentions Friday, saying that four journalists from the newspaper JoongAng Ilbo, a researcher and a guide were taken into custody Tuesday in a military restricted zone near the Tumen River that marks the border.
See the full article (AP, Sam Kim, 9/23/11)
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Kyrgyz Parliament Gets Own TV Channel Despite President's Veto
The Kyrgyz parliament has overturned a presidential veto and converted the Channel 5 television company into a parliamentary TV channel. The vote by parliament means Channel 5 will show live broadcasts of all parliamentary sessions and hearings. The parliament's initial vote, in July, to make Channel 5 a parliamentary TV channel was vetoed by President Roza Otunbaeva for financial reasons.
See the full article (RFE/RL, 9/23/11)
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US Forces Radio in Iraq Shuts as Troops Pull Out
With a final song at midnight Friday, the American military will shut AFN-Iraq, the radio station that has broadcast to soldiers nationwide since 2003, marking 100 days until the US withdrawal is complete. "They're going to get good radio, but it's not going to be us, and we're right here in the country with them," said Sergeant Jay Townsend, one of AFN-Iraq's DJs. "We get mortars, and we get rockets, and we go out on missions and patrols as well, so at least we have something in common."
See the full article (AFP, Amelie Herenstein, 9/23/11)
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Criticizing Israel, Outside of Israel
In a much-discussed essay in a 2010 issue of the New York Review of Books, journalist Peter Beinart argues that groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Anti-Defamation League squelch criticism on these shores by regarding critics of Israel as enemies of Israel. Beinart and Steven Rosen, formerly of AIPAC, debate the issue in a story originally broadcast in June 2010.
See the full article (NPR, 9/23/11)
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Internet and Social Media

Insight: Social media - A Political Tool for Good or Evil?
After the "Arab Spring" surprised the world with the power of technology to revolutionize political dissent, governments are racing to develop strategies to respond to, and even control, the new player in the political arena -- social media. Anti-government protesters in Tunisia and Egypt used Twitter, Facebook and other platforms to run rings around attempts at censorship and organize demonstrations that ousted presidents Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak. Being ahead of the game when it comes to embracing social media, Washington hopes, will be key to maintaining its influence in a changing world.
See the full article (Reuters, Peter Apps, 9/28/11)
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UN Takes on Child Porn, Cybercrime and Other Global Issues
I'm in Nairobi, Kenya, this week to serve as a panelist at the United Nations' Internet Governance Forum (IGF). I'm not sure what will be accomplished at the three day conference, but it's an opportunity for "multi-stakeholders" from around the world to talk about important Internet-related issues such as child protection, cybercrime, privacy, censorship, managing critical Internet resources and making sure that the Internet is accessible in developing countries.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Larry Magid, 9/27/11)
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When Freedom's Not Free at the State Department
On the same day that more than 250,000 unredacted State Department cables hemorrhaged out onto the Internet, I was interrogated for the first time in my 23-year State Department career by State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) and told I was under investigation for allegedly disclosing classified information. The evidence of my crime? A posting on my blog from the previous month that included a link to a WikiLeaks document already available elsewhere on the Web.
See the full article (CBS, Peter Van Buren, 9/27/11)
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Europe Plans Charter to Safeguard Internet Users
The Council of Europe plans to establish an Internet user charter to guarantee the rights of consumers in an era of increasing government attempts to seize control of the Web, its deputy secretary general said on Tuesday. Internet activists say governments ranging from Egypt to Pakistan have been trying to control the Internet through tactics like filtering and blocking of content and surveillance, making the lives of users and rights campaigners difficult.
See the full article (Reuters, Duncan Miriri, 9/27/11)
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Harvard Website Hacked by Syria Protesters
Harvard University has had its website hacked in what appears to be a "sophisticated" Syrian-related attack. Along with a picture of Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, the hacked home page showed a message saying the "Syrian Electronic Army Were Here". A further message made terror threats against the United States and criticised its opposition to the Assad regime.
See the full article (BBC, Sean Coughlan, 9/26/11)
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Mexico Turns to Social Media for Information and Survival
Before the police or news reporters had even arrived at the underpass outside Veracruz where gunmen held up traffic and dumped 35 bodies at rush hour last week, Twitter was already buzzing with fear and valuable information. Witness accounts have become common in Mexico over the past year, especially in violent cities where the news media have been compromised by corruption or killings. But the flurry of Twitter messages about the bodies arrived at a telling moment - on the same day that Veracruz's State Assembly made it a crime to use Twitter and other social networks to undermine public order.
See the full article (New York Times, Damien Cave, 9/24/11) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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What's New from PeaceMedia

The Peace Agency - Spotted Frog Productions
The Peace Agency is a documentary by Spotted Frog Productions featuring a woman's struggles in post-conflict zone of Poso, Indonesia. Lian Gogali is teaching female survivors of nearly a decade of communal violence how to transform themselves into agents of peace for their families and communities.
See the full video
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