USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, December 22 - 28, 2011

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

U.S. Pulls Advisers from Afghan Press Center It Funds
After funding and supporting the Afghan government's press center for more than four years, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul announced Wednesday that it has withdrawn its advisers from the center amid concerns over the way it is being run. The Government Media and Information Center (GMIC) has become politicized in recent months as pro- and anti-American factions within the Afghan government have sought to use its visibility to push certain causes.
See the full article (Washington Post, Ernesto LondoƱo, 12/28/11)
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Pakistan Media: There is No Room in Pakistan for Pseudo Revolutionaries
Television screens flashing "Breaking News" in jarring, blood red letters to heart-pounding music were genuinely alarming when Pakistan had a single state-owned TV channel. Now they're just a regular part of the news. Instead of being better informed by all this information, our not-so-literate citizens became mere consumers of free media in a free market system, where the supply of sensational news quickly met its demand.
See the full article (Washington Times, Mudassar Ali Khan, 12/28/11)
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Swedish Journalists Receive 11 Years in Jail
Ethiopian officials accused the journalists of being accomplices to terrorism after the government declared the Ogaden National Liberation Front a terrorist group in June. Journalists and aid workers are prohibited from entering the Ogaden, where human rights organizations say human rights abuses against ethnic Somalis by rebels and Ethiopian troops are rampant.
See the full article (CNN, 12/27/11)
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France Refuses to Arrest Journalist Sought by Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia
France refused Monday to carry out an arrest mandate against a French journalist convicted of contempt for revealing confidential information about the tribunal's work. Hartmann, a French national, published a book in 2007 that contained information on Serbia's involvement in the horrors of the Bosnian conflict.
See the full article (Washington Post, Edward Cody, 12/26/11)
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Science and Censorship: A Duel Lasting Centuries
The specter of censorship loomed over science last week with news that a federal advisory panel had asked two leading journals to withhold details of experiments out of fear that terrorists could use the information to make deadly flu viruses. But science and secrecy go back centuries, their conflicting agendas often rooted in issues of war and advanced weaponry.
See the full article (New York Times, William J. Broad, 12/26/11) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Goodbye, Babylon: A Times Photographer Reflects on End of Iraq War
Amid the retrospectives and requiems marking the [Iraq] war's end, I've tried to find meaning from my experience in it. I feel compelled to mark the war's passing, if only with this post and gallery, reliving and sharing the realities I witnessed and documented in pictures for the Los Angeles Times in 2003 and 2004.
See the full article (Los Angeles Times, Luis Sinco, 12/25/11)
Click to read "America's Role in the World: The Costs of Walking Away," a USIP On the Issues piece by Stephen Krasner.
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Afghanistan Low on News Agenda
The 10-year-old war in Afghanistan remained just a blip on the American news media's radar in 2011. Of all the news content in newspapers and on the Web, television and radio this year, Afghanistan accounted for about 2 percent of coverage, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism, an arm of the Pew Research Center.
See the full article (New York Times, Brian Stelter, 12/25/11) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
Click to read "Traditional Dispute Resolution and Afghanistan's Women," a USIP Peace Brief by Sylvana Q. Sinha.
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Pakistani Media and Anti-Americanism
U.S.-Pakistan ties deteriorated significantly in the past year, and the anti-American rhetoric in Pakistani media, especially television, reached a crescendo. Najam Sethi, an award-winning Pakistani journalist and editor-in-chief of Geo News and the English political weekly Friday Times, says U.S. counterterrorism policies in Pakistan have caused this acrimony.
See the full article (Council on Foreign Relations, 12/23/11)
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North Korean Propaganda
After the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, we look back on a 2010 interview with academic B.R. Myers. Bob spoke with Myers, who describes how propaganda was a key tool Kim used to wield almost complete power in North Korea.
See the full article (NPR, 12/23/11)
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UNESCO Cuts Funds for Palestinian Magazine
The U.N.'s cultural agency said Friday it is pulling funding for a Palestinian youth magazine that published an article suggesting admiration for Hitler. UNESCO said in a statement it "strongly deplores and condemns" the "unacceptable" material and would cease funding the magazine. UNESCO said it funded three different issues later in 2011, and not the one in question.
See the full article (AP, Matti Friedman, 12/23/11)
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Internet and Social Media

Internet TV Channel Challenges Kremlin's Information Monopoly
Dozhd TV [is] a hip new Internet station that has been in existence for less than two years but has already attracted hundreds of thousands of viewers seeking an alternative to the scripted, monochrome, and heavily censored programming offered by the Kremlin-controlled channels. The venture's success illustrates both the public's hunger for unfiltered news and information as well as the degree to which the Internet has cut into the Kremlin's traditional dominance of electronic media.
See the full article (RFE/RL, Tom Balmforth, 12/27/11)
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Gladwell vs. Shirky: A Year Later, Scoring the Debate Over Social-Media Revolutions
Now that 2011 is coming to a close, it's worth looking back at an intellectual argument that played out just as the year was beginning - back before we saw the spread of the Arab Spring, the UK riots, the Occupy movement, and so much else. In one corner was the New Yorker's Malcolm Gladwell, who argued in an October 2010 piece that the media had oversold Twitter and Facebook as tools for political action. In the other corner was NYU professor Clay Shirky, whose book Here Comes Everybody had been called out by Gladwell as "the bible of the social-media movement."
See the full article (Wired, Bill Wasik, 12/27/11)
Click to read "Stakeholders of Libya's February 17 Revolution," a USIP Special Report by Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof and Manal Omar.
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Congress Calls on Twitter to Block Taliban
Senators want to stop feeds which boast of insurgent attacks on Nato forces in Afghanistan and the casualties they inflict. Aides for Joe Lieberman, chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said the move was part of a wider attempt to eliminate violent Islamist extremist propaganda from the internet and social media.
See the full article (Telegraph, Ben Farmer, 12/25/11)
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China, Russia and the New Digital Spy Game
During the Cold War, the Soviets and Americans engaged in an elaborate game of cat-and-mouse intelligence (and counter-intelligence) over a period of decades, careful not to let flare-ups at the periphery of their respective blocs escalate into a global "hot war." Is the U.S. now engaging in a similar game of cat-and-mouse with the Chinese, this time played out on the periphery of the Internet?
See the full article (Washington Post, Dominic Basulto, 12/24/11)
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Twitter of Terror
[Al-Shabaab's handle], HSMPress, is using Twitter the way social media experts have always advised-not just broadcasting, but engaging in conversation. Spend some time following the account, and you realize that you're dealing with a real human being with real ideas-albeit boastful, hypocritical, violent ideas.
See the full article (Slate, Will Oremus, 12/23/11)
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Prosecutors say Manning Collaborated with WikiLeaks' Assange in Stealing Secret Documents
Military prosecutors presented new and detailed evidence Thursday that they said showed that Pfc. Bradley Manning collaborated with Julian Assange, the founder of the anti-secrecy Web site WikiLeaks, in stealing more than 700,000 documents from classified computer systems and publishing them on the Internet.
See the full article (Washington Post, Ellen Nakashima and Julie Tate, 12/22/11)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

Afghanistan: Life Beyond Poppies - Development Pictures
The UK-led Provincial Reconstruction Team in Helmand Province is helping Afghanistan to tackle the country's illegal drugs trade which destroys lives around the world. At a new training college, young Afghan farmers are learning to grow legal crops that can give them an alternative income to opium.
See the full video
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