USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, February 2 - 8, 2012

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

Myanmar Moves Towards Ending Media Censorship
Myanmar is poised to adopt a new media law that could sweep away half a century of heavy-handed censorship, as an increasingly impatient press cautiously test the boundaries of newly-won freedoms. In perhaps the most eye-catching reform among a raft of changes in the country formerly known as Burma, reports on democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi are no longer taboo as the new government moves towards allowing a free press.
See the full article (AFP, Didier Lauras, 2/8/11)
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Nigeria Military Detains French TV Journalists
Soldiers guarding a city at the heart of ethnic and religious clashes in Nigeria detained and later threw out journalists working for a French television station trying to cover the ongoing unrest there, the reporters said. The military stopped TF1 journalist Jeremie Drieu, a videographer and local journalist Ahmad Salkida as they tried to work Sunday in the city of Jos, where thousands have been killed in recent years in violence pitting Christians against Muslims.
See the full article (AP, Jon Gambrell, 2/7/11)
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Can Censorship Help Heal Rwanda?
Rwanda's remarkable reconciliation and success have gone hand in hand with severely curtailed freedom of speech. Though it leads Africa in many markers of development, Rwanda ranks among the least free countries for media, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. As much as these restrictions may disturb American diplomats, businesspeople, donors, and aid workers, Kagame and his supporters believe the country is succeeding not despite its deviation from the American playbook, but because of it.
See the full article (Boston Globe, Peter S. Canellos, 2/5/12)
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Syria Says Pro-government TV's News Service Hacked
Syria's state broadcaster said on Sunday that the text message news service of a separate, pro-government TV station had been hacked and was being used to disseminate "false messages." Separate headlines on Addounia cautioned against a text message asking people "to avoid public squares for security reasons." The station was the target of European Union sanctions imposed in response to President Bashar al-Assad's bloody crackdown on mass protests.
See the full article (Reuters, 2/5/12)
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'In Mexico, Reporters are Hunted like Rabbits'
Mexico has the dubious distinction of being tied for first place with Pakistan as the world's deadliest country for journalists. Since 2000, 67 Mexican journalists have been killed - a number that President Calderón's war on drugs has only helped to increase. In 90% of these cases, no one has been prosecuted, never mind convicted.
See the full article (Guardian, Gillian Slovo, 2/3/12)
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Zimbabwe Bars Unregistered Foreign Newspapers
Zimbabwe will bar all unregistered foreign newspapers, its media commission said on Friday, in what could be the start of a crackdown on outlets critical of President Robert Mugabe ahead of a possible election this year. The commission said some foreign newspapers had failed to comply with a 2010 directive to register with the authorities and would be barred from circulation. The unregistered newspapers are published outside of the country and distributed in Zimbabwe without a license.
See the full article (Reuters, Nelson Banya, 2/3/12)
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BBC Reporter Interrogated Online By Iran's Revolutionary Guards
Security officials with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) have used the Internet to interrogate an employee of the London-based BBC Persian service. The sister of a BBC reporter was detained and put in Tehran's Evin prison, where the IRGC is thought to exert considerable control. IRGC officials then contacted the reporter in London using e-mail information obtained from her detained sister. Following the online interrogation, her sister was released.
See the full article (RFE/RL, Golnaz Esfandiari, 2/2/12)
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Internet and Social Media

Iranian Blogger Mehdi Khazali Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison
In his blog, Khazali has criticized Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and Iran's state policies. Khazali was arrested about a month ago and is currently on a hunger strike. The outspoken blogger and ophthalmologist has been detained a number of times in the past two years. Meanwhile, Iranian authorities have arrested several people over alleged links to the BBC's Persian service.
See the full article (RFE/RL, 2/7/12)
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The World Watches Syria's Uprising on YouTube
As Syria teeters on the precipice of civil war, the world watches online. With foreign press agencies unable to send reporters or cameras, outsiders have been relying on video (along with telephone calls) recorded by Syrians on small camcorders and mobile devices and later uploaded to the web. These videos cannot be verified and they often include titles and descriptions with bias for their side of the conflict. But it's difficult to ignore the raw visceral power of the footage.
See the full article (Mashable, Alex Fitzpatrick, 2/7/12)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "A Year of Turmoil: Challenges of Post-Conflict Reconstruction " on February 16 at 7:30am.
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The Committee to Protect Journalists' Vital Role in the Digital Age
[The Committee to Protect Journalists' annual report] reflects a profound shift toward reliance on Internet advocacy. "Blogging, video sharing and text messaging from cellphones now bring news from some of the most oppressive countries to the rest of the world," the annual survey concludes, "Yet the technology used to report the news has been matched in many ways by the tools used to suppress information."
See the full article (Atlantic, Peter Osnos, 2/7/12)
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How Twitter is Used Around the World
Active Twitter accounts number some 100 million worldwide, and 80 percent of those are outside of the United States. How those accounts are used varies widely. Some countries use Twitter as a platform to counter Twitter's notion that "freedom" and "expression" have contours, borders to expand or contract; others use Twitter as an extension of personal conversation. From region to region, here's what society is using Twitter to say.
See the full article (PC Magazine, Chandra Steele, 2/7/12)
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WikiLeaks: Bradley Manning Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize by Icelandic Parliamentarian
On Saturday, [an] Icelandic member of parliament posted a nomination letter on her blog on behalf of the three-member parliamentary group The Movement, proposing suspected WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning as a candidate for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. The parliamentarian has been a vocal supporter of WikiLeaks since it leaked the "Collateral Murder" video of a 2007 Baghdad strike by U.S. forces that killed at least a dozen unarmed civilians, including two Reuters reporters.
See the full article (International Business Times, 2/7/12))
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Google, Facebook Remove Content as India Threatens Lawsuits for Offending Religious Sentiments
Google India has removed web pages deemed offensive to Indian political and religious leaders to comply with a court case that has raised censorship fears in the world's largest democracy. The action follows weeks of intense government pressure for 22 Internet giants to remove photographs, videos or text considered "anti-religious" or "anti-social."
See the full article (AP, 2/6/12)
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U.S. Could Maintain Virtual Presence in Syria
The closing of the U.S. embassy in Damascus on Monday in response to escalating violence may not mean an end to the State Department's virtual ties with Syria, experts told Nextgov. Even from outside the country, State officials could continue to interact with Syrian citizens on Facebook and Twitter, they said, and to update postings on the embassy's English and Arabic-language websites.
See the full article (Nextgov, Joseph Marks, 2/6/12)
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Bradley Manning Faces Court-martial in WikiLeaks Case
Manning, 24, faces charges that include aiding the enemy, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet, theft of public property or records, transmitting defense information, and fraud and related activity in connection with computers. If convicted of all charges, he would face a maximum sentence of life in prison. Aiding the enemy is a capital offense, but the investigating officer endorsed the view of military prosecutors not to seek the death penalty.
See the full article (CNN, 2/4/12)
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Anonymous Says it Will Leak Giant Cache of Iraq War E-mails
Anonymous announced that it would release a massive archive of e-mails concerning the 2005 deaths of 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians during a U.S. raid in the town of Haditha. The announcement states that Anonymous stole 2.6 gigabytes of e-mail belonging to Puckett Faraj, a law firm that represents [the leader of] the group of Marines in Haditha. Anonymous also said the e-mails contain "detailed records, transcripts, testimony, trial evidence, and legal defense donation records" about the Haditha Case.
See the full article (Washington Post, Elizabeth Flock, 2/3/12)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Policing Iraq" on February 29 at 9:30am.
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China's Fake Facebooks
Facebook is blocked in China -but that hasn't prevented homegrown Facebook knock-off sites from sprouting. And even on China's fake Facebooks, real conversations about politics and culture are occurring every day. Jeremy Goldkorn, who monitors Chinese media at his website, talks to [On the Media's Bob Garfield] about life on China's fake Facebooks.
See the full article (NPR, 2/3/12)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"Ugandan Villagers Evicted to Make Way for Forestry Company"- Guardian News and Media
To make way for a UK forestry firm leasing land to harvest lumber and create carbon credits, more than 22,000 people have been evicted from their homes and land in central Uganda. Learn how many of the evicted were forcibly removed and have been left destitute, their houses burned and their children without schools. The World Bank has called for a full investigation of the company and its activities.
See the full video
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