USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup



United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, February 9 - 15, 2012

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

Russia Expels French Journalist 'For Talking to Foes of Putin'
Russia has expelled a prominent French writer and journalist three weeks before the country's presidential election, in the latest move by the authorities against press freedom. Immigration officials detained Anne Nivat on Friday, after she met members of Russia's opposition. The officials interrogated her for four hours. They then annulled her multi-entry business visa and told her she had to leave Russia within three days.
See the full article (Guardian, Luke Harding, 2/14/12)
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Brazil Newspaper Editor Paulo Rodrigues Shot Dead
Paulo Rodrigues was killed by gunmen riding a motorcycle in the city of Ponta Pora, near the Paraguayan border. The border region is known for drug and gun smuggling, as well as political corruption. Mr Rodrigues was the second journalist to be killed in Brazil in recent days. Last Thursday website editor Mario Randolpho Marques Lopes - who campaigned against corruption on the website Vassouras na Net - was abducted from his home in the city of Barra do Pirai [and later found dead].
See the full article (BBC, 2/13/12)
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Egypt's Artists Fear Censorship by Islamists
Since the Arab Spring broke out in Egypt a year ago, the country's art world has started to shake off decades of repression. Sexuality is more out in the open, as are deep-seated social problems such as poverty and corruption - subjects long off limits under former president Hosni Mubarak. Many artists, it seems, no longer feel obligated to cloak their politics in thick layers of allegory. But with Islamists gaining power, will provocative art soon be suppressed?
See the full article (The Daily Beast, Ty McCormick, 2/13/12)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Principled Peace: Jewish, Christian and Muslim Perspectives on Just Peacemaking" on February 27 at 10:00am.
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TV in Putin's Russia: Jesters, Strivers and a Longing for Normalcy
Television over the last 10 years has mirrored the country's economic recovery. State-controlled news deliberately spread Mr. Putin's message of stability and prosperity at any cost. Entertainment subliminally echoed it. Yet change is in the air. Protest and opposition to Mr. Putin, the prime minister, is sneaking onto the news. Russia's silent majority isn't so silent anymore.
See the full article (New York Times, Alessandra Stanley, 2/13/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Bangladesh Journalist Couple Stabbed to Death
Two prominent television journalists in Bangladesh were brutally stabbed to death on Saturday at their home in the capital Dhaka, police said. Police identified the slain couple as Meherun Runi and Sagar Sarwar. Runi, 33, worked as a reporter for Bangladesh's largest private television station ATN Bangla. Sarwar, 35, was a news editor for Maasranga TV. Government and opposition leaders condemned the killing of the two journalists.
See the full article (AFP, 2/11/12)
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Gambia Asks UN to Probe Journalists' Disappearance
Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has asked the United Nations to investigate the disappearance of several journalists in the tiny West African country that rights groups accuse of persecuting media workers. Jammeh's request referred specifically to Chief Ebrima Manneh, who disappeared in 2006 after being picked up at the offices of his newspaper by men who said they were state intelligence officers. CPJ, which has criticized Gambia for attacks on the press and Jammeh for publicly vilifying reporters, says Manneh was sighted in government custody in December 2006 and in July 2007.
See the full article (Reuters, Louis Charbonneau, 2/9/12)
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Internet and Social Media

Syrian Opposition Seeks to Wipe the Assad Name Off the Map - Via Google
Anti-government activists in recent weeks have used a Google crowdsourcing program, Map Maker, to rename key streets, bridges and boulevards after their revolutionary heroes, according to opposition figures and the Syrian government. The idea, activists say, has been to expunge the vestiges of the Assad family's 40-year rule and to commemorate protesters who have fallen over the course of an 11-month-old uprising.
See the full article (Washington Post, Colum Lynch, 2/14/12)
Click to read "Making Sense of the U.N. Impasse on Syria," a USIP On the Issues by Abiodun Williams.
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Pinterest, Meet Arab Spring: Clone Site Collects Videos of Protest
News website Middle East Voices has created a digital forum for footage from Arab Spring protests, focusing on Bahrain - and the result looks a lot like hot startup Pinterest. Lulu Live, launched on the one year anniversary of Feb. 14 protests in Bahrain, is a grassroots social journalism site, curated by Middle East Voices editors. The site is both a space for Bahrainis to see and exchange media and a resource for the site's English language audience to get a grasp on the situation.
See the full article (Mashable, 2/14/12)
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Saudi Writer May Face Trial over Prophet Mohammad Tweets
A young Saudi blogger and columnist has been deported to his homeland to face trial soon after fleeing from death threats triggered by comments on the social network Twitter seen as blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammad. The reaction on the Internet was swift and vitriolic. A YouTube video of a tearful Saudi cleric Nasser al-Omar calling for Kashgari to be arrested and tried went viral. Kashgari will probably face trial soon, Saudi officials told Reuters.
See the full article (Reuters, Asma Alsharif and Amena Bakr, 2/13/12)
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Explainer: Iran's National Internet
Reports that Iran has stepped up its Internet censorship in recent days -- as evidenced by a general slowdown of the web, Internet blackouts, and the blocking of sites such as Google -- has raised speculation that the country might be testing its controversial "national Internet." RFE/RL has compiled this quick guide to the possible introduction of a national Internet in Iran and the challenges it may face.
See the full article (RFE/RL, Golnaz Esfandiari, 2/13/12)
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Iran Chokes Internet at Politically Sensitive Time
Access to the Internet's most-used sites and tools is being choked in Iran at a politically charged period, blocking communication channels for local businesses, bank clients, scientists and foreign media. While authorities have given no reason publicly for the systematic curbs, the extra filtering came at a politically sensitive time for them. Iran last week celebrated the anniversary of its 1979 Islamic revolution, and in less than three weeks' time it is to hold legislative elections.
See the full article (AFP, 2/13/12)
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The Miracle Generation
In the wake of Khaled Said's death at the hands of the Egyptian internal security service, a Facebook group entitled "We are all Khaled Said" was created and maintained by geeks and bloggers. It soon became a rallying cry for a popular movement intent on bringing those responsible to justice. At the beginning of 2011, there were twenty-seven million Arabs on Facebook, including six million Egyptians, comprising just more than five per cent of the population. Within a few months, two million more Egyptians joined, underlining the centrality of the medium to the changes in the country.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, Marwan Bishara, 2/12/12)
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U.S. Syria Envoy Posts Satellite Image on Facebook to Prove Regime Violence
The U.S. ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, just days after closing the embassy in Damascus, posted satellite imagery on Facebook to show proof of government attacks on residential neighborhoods. The commercial satellite image, titled "Security Operations Escalate in Homs," is dated Feb. 6 and has labels pointing out burning buildings, smoke, impact craters, military vehicles and armored vehicles.
See the full article (Reuters, 2/11/12)
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Tweeting Graphic Videos from Syria
The situation in Syria is worsening, with estimates of over 5000 dead and the regime of President Bashar Al Assad showing no signs of backing down. With a virtual media blackout in the country, videos posted to YouTube and Facebook are providing some of the only glimpses into the atrocities taking place on the ground. [On the Media's Bob Garfield] speaks to NPR senior strategist Andy Carvin and Sky News digital news editor Neal Mann about walking the line between conveying the immensity of the brutality without traumatizing audiences.
See the full article (NPR, 2/10/12)
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'The Internet Should be a Demilitarised Zone'
In a world where governments are spending tens of billions of pounds arming themselves for a cyberwar, Eugene Kaspersky's message is an unfashionable one. As chief executive of one of the largest computer security firms, he flies around the world telling politicians and officials they should instead be working to make the internet a military-free zone. According to Mr Kaspersky, all-out digital conflict can be avoided by enacting arms control laws similar to the international agreements meant to prevent the proliferation of nuclear bombs.
See the full article (Telegraph, Christopher Williams, 2/9/12)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Preventing Incitement and Promoting Peace " on February 28 at 10:00am.
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"Patrick Meier - Changing the World, One Map at a Time" - TEDxKC
Maps have always been a source of fascination and intrigue. Today's maps, however, can also help to save lives during disasters, document human rights abuses and monitor elections in countries under repressive rule. This presentation will explain how today's live maps can combine crowds and clouds to drive social change.
See the full video
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