USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, September 29 - October 5, 2011

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

3 U.S. Soldiers Indicted in Death of Spanish Journalist
A Spanish judge has again indicted three U.S. soldiers in connection with the death of a Spanish TV cameraman in Iraq in 2003, according to a court order viewed by CNN Wednesday. The long-running case stems from the death of the cameraman, Jose Couso in Baghdad in 2003. U.S. troops assaulted the Iraqi capital and directed tank fire against the Palestine Hotel, where journalists covering the war were staying.
See the full article (CNN, Al Goodman, 10/5/11)
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Trial Opens Of RFE/RL Turkmen Reporter
An RFE/RL correspondent in Turkmenistan has gone on trial over allegations that he urged a relative to attempt suicide, in a case his family says is retaliation for his journalistic activities. Yazkuliyev was one of the first journalists in Turkmenistan to cover deadly explosions at a weapons depot in the town of Abadan, near Ashgabat, in July, which official media initially downplayed as a minor incident.
See the full article (RFE/RL, 10/4/11)
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A Closed-Mouth Policy Even on Open Secrets
Speaking hours after the world learned that a C.I.A. drone strike had killed Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, President Obama could still not say the words "drone" or "C.I.A." That's classified. The president's careful language was the latest reflection of a growing phenomenon: information that is public but classified.
See the full article (New York Times, Scott Shane, 10/4/11) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Video Game to Aid War Journalists
When Tony Maniaty was sent to cover the 1975 civil war in East Timor as a young foreign correspondent, he was more concerned with impressing his editors than training for deployment to a hostile environment. More than 35 years later, Maniaty sees the same eagerness twinned with inexperience in the next generation of foreign correspondents he now teaches at the University of Technology, Sydney. "They're all itching to get overseas," he says. But he questioned if they had enough training in how to cope in war zones.
See the full article (BBC, Stuart Hughes, 10/4/11)
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For Iraq's Journalists, Few Freedoms and Many Fears
Hadi Mehdi, one of Iraq's best-known journalists, knew he was a marked man. He had been arrested and beaten by Iraqi security forces after covering a large public protest earlier this year, and he feared the worst was yet to come.
See the full article (Atlantic, Yochi Dreazen, 10/3/11)
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2nd American in Strike Waged Qaeda Media War
From his parents' basement in a part of town where homes have lots of bedrooms and most children go to college, Samir Khan [began] waging a media war he believed was as important as the battles with guns on the ground. In 2009, he left his comfortable life in Charlotte for Yemen, started a slick magazine for jihadists called Inspire that featured political and how-to articles written in a comfortable American vernacular and continued to digitally dodge government and civilian efforts to stop his self-described "media jihad."
See the full article (New York Times, Robbie Brown and Kim Severson, 9/30/11)
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Coming Soon: Guantanamo Bay Reality TV
Television's newest legal drama could be the rawest one ever. It comes later this fall, beamed in from the courtroom near the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Only you won't get to watch it. Right now, there is only one way to witness a so-called military commission for an accused terrorist: Ask the Pentagon to let you travel to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Be warned: Only journalists and representatives of human-rights groups get approved. But that's starting to change. Somewhat.
See the full article (Guardian, Spencer Ackerman, 9/29/11)
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Ethiopia Uses Anti-terror Laws to Silence Critical Journalists
The Ethiopian government is using sweeping anti-terror laws to crack down on journalists critical of the regime. In the last three months, six journalists have been imprisoned, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). They include two Swedish journalists - Martin Schibbye and photographer Johan Persson - who were charged a fortnight ago with terrorism.
See the full article (Guardian, Caelainn Barr, 9/29/11)
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Official Says China has Expelled South Korean Reporters Held near North Korea
A South Korean official says China has expelled a group of South Korean journalists and researchers it detained last week near the border with North Korea. A South Korean Foreign Ministry official said Thursday that three JoongAng Ilbo daily reporters and two researchers returned home Sunday after being released a day earlier.
See the full article (AP, 9/29/11)
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Internet and Social Media

U.S. Senator Urges Twitter Diplomacy in Latin America
The United States should move aggressively to use social media such as Twitter and Facebook to promote its agenda in Latin America and help newly wired citizens cement political gains, said a new U.S. report obtained by Reuters. Senator Richard Lugar said social media tools on the Internet, which played a central role in the "Arab Spring" uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East, may be even more influential in Latin America.
See the full article (Reuters, Jasmin Melvin, 10/4/11)
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Egyptian Blogger's Hunger Strike Turns Critical; Hearing Delayed
Egypt's military prosecution today postponed the appeal hearing of Maikel Nabil Sanad, an imprisoned blogger convicted of criticizing the military. His brother Mark said the three-week delay amounted to a death sentence, since Maikel - now 43 days into a hunger strike - has vowed to abstain from water as well as food beginning today.
See the full article (Christian Science Monitor, Kristen Chick, 10/4/11)
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Taliban Using Modern Means to Add to Sway
Punctually, at 8 o'clock every evening, the cellphone signals disappear in [Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan]. Under pressure from the Taliban, the major carriers turn off their signal towers, effectively severing most of the connections to the rest of the world. This now occurs in some portion of more than half the provinces in Afghanistan, and exemplifies the Taliban's new and more subtle ways of asserting themselves, even as NATO generals portray the insurgents as a diminished force less able to hold ground.
See the full article (New York Times, Alissa J. Rubin, 10/4/11)
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Awlaki's Death Hits al-Qaeda's Social Media Strategy
Anwar al-Awlaki was adept at using social media to export al-Qaeda ideology to the West. His success at inspiring acts of violence shows the US campaign against terrorism is a battle of ideas that cannot be won by drones alone. The death of al-Awlaki, a senior al-Qaeda leader in Yemen, marks one of the most significant blows yet to al-Qaeda's global media campaign.
See the full article (BBC, Seth Jones, 9/30/11)
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Africa's Quiet Digital Revolution
Facebook and Twitter may have grabbed the headlines during the Arab Spring uprisings but on the African sub-continent an altogether quieter digital revolution is taking place. Services begun in the UK to help allay middle-class indignation about the lack of transparency from MPs is playing an increasingly important role in bringing democracy to countries that have known little.
See the full article (BBC, Jane Wakefield, 9/29/11)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

New Media and Peacebuilding Resource Center
USIP's New Media and Peacebuilding Resource Center provides peacebuilders with various tools that will help them integrate new media tools - mobile phones, social networking websites, and crisis mapping tools - into their work more effectively. New media tools change the way peacebuilders do their work in country, but they also bring with them a growing body of knowledge around security concerns, infrastructure needs, and best practices.
See the Resource Center
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