USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup



United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, February 16 - 22, 2012

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

Cultural Diplomacy for the 21st Century: Empowering Local Voices
[The] classic definition of cultural diplomacy needs an update that reflects new "best practices" in today's world of 24/7 communication and social media. While exchanges always will have an important role in diplomacy, empowering local voices, stories, and viewpoints also is proving increasingly effective. The most successful cultural diplomacy strategy integrates people to people or arts/culture/media to people interactions into the basic business of diplomacy. Programs in Afghanistan, Egypt, and Iran all contribute to core goals of U.S. policy in those countries.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Cynthia P. Schneider, 2/22/12)
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Journalists Among Dozens Killed as Bombing Continues in Syrian City of Homs
An American and a French journalist were reported killed in a mortar strike in Homs, Syria, on Wednesday morning, Syrian anti-government activists and a French government spokeswoman said. One of the slain journalists was U.S.-born Marie Colvin, a legendary foreign correspondent from Britain's Sunday Times newspaper who has also reported for CNN, the BBC and other media outlets. The other was Remi Ochlik, an award-winning photographer from France.
See the full article (Washington Post, Alice Fordham, 2/22/12)
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Drone Journalism Takes Off
Drones play an increasing and controversial role in modern warfare. From Afghanistan and Pakistan to Iran and Yemen, they have become a ubiquitous symbol of Washington's war on terrorism. Now drones are starting to fly into a more peaceful, yet equally controversial role in the media. Rapid technological advances in low-cost aerial platforms herald the age of drone journalism. But it will not be all smooth flying: this new media tool can expect to be buffeted by the issues of safety, ethics and legality.
See the full article (ABC, Mark Corcoran, 2/21/12)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Preventing Incitement and Promoting Peace" on February 28 at 12:30pm.
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Palestinian Journalists Under Pressure
The International Press Institute (IPI) has registered its concern over the treatment of Palestinian journalists by both Israeli forces and Palestinian security services. The press freedom watchdog says that since the beginning of 2012, at least five journalists working in the Palestinian territories have been subjected to arbitrary arrest. "The pattern of interrogating journalists for what they write and then later releasing them appears to be a method of encouraging self-censorship, something that is ultimately most harmful to the people of Palestine."
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 2/21/12)
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New Film Shows African Conflict Through Eyes of Girl
Canadian director Kim Nguyen looks at the traumatic life of a child soldier in an unspecified African conflict through a young girl's eyes in War Witch, a harrowing film that nonetheless carries with it an element of hope. War Witch was filmed in Democratic Republic of Congo and [follows] Komona, a 12-year-old girl whose peaceful life in a village is shattered when rebels arrive, kill most of her neighbors, force her to shoot her own parents and leave with a dozen or so child recruits.
See the full article (Reuters, Mike Collett-White, 2/17/12)
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A Little Reality on Russian TV
On March 4th Russia could return Vladamir Putin to office for another 6 year term. Putin's seeming inevitable lock on power has brought protestors out into the street and for the first time ever that opposition is creeping onto television - both entertainment and news programming. Alessandra Stanley, television critic for The New York Times, tells [On the Media] that watching Russian TV news is a little bit NPR and a little bit North Korea.
See the full article (NPR, 2/17/12)
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Second Brazilian Journalist Murdered in a Week
A Brazilian journalist was shot to death on Sunday in what police believe was a contract killing. Paulo Roberto Cardoso Rodrigues, known as Paulo Rocaro, was the second journalist to die in Brazil within a week. Rocaro was the editor of a daily paper, Jornal da Praça, in Ponta Porã in the Paraguayan border state of Mato Grosso do Sul. He also ran a news website and worked as a correspondent for two statewide newspapers. He was known for writing about corruption.
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 2/16/12)
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Pakistani Military Rejects Human Rights Watch Claims on Journalist Killing Probe
Pakistan's military has rejected as "derogatory, biased and contradictory" criticism by Human Rights Watch (HRW) concerning the murder of a Pakistani journalist. On January 30, HRW criticized a judicial commission for failing to name the perpetrators of last year's murder of Saleem Shahzad. The U.S.-based rights group said the probe's shortcomings showed the ability of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency "to remain beyond the reach of Pakistan's criminal justice system."
See the full article (RFE/RL, 2/16/12)
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Independent Russian TV Station Faces Probe over Its Coverage of Opposition Protests
Russian prosecutors are investigating how an independent television station covered December's massive opposition rallies - with an eye on whether the U.S. or other foreign powers funded the broadcasts, the channel and the lawmaker pursuing the probe said Thursday. The moves signal that the government, which already controls much of Russian media, is increasingly nervous that the two independent media outlets will serve as platforms for opponents of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
See the full article (AP, 2/16/12)
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Internet and Social Media

As Journalists and Video Bloggers are Killed, SyriaPioneer Lives On
Among those killed in yesterday's attack were three activists. One of those was video blogger Rami Ahmad al-Sayed, who was also known as "Syria Pioneer". Ahmad al-Sayed had uploaded over 200 videos to various platforms of the killing and destruction in his area. His live broadcasts did their part in showing the world what was going on in Syria. His footage of the bombing of Homs was aired all over the world by BBC World, SkyNews, Al Jazeera and many more.
See the full article (TechCrunch, Mike Butcher 2/22/12)
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Twitter Diplomacy: State Department 2.0
The U.S. evacuated the staff of its embassy in Damascus earlier this month owing to security issues. But that hasn't stopped Robert Ford, the U.S. ambassador to Syria, from using social media to keep in touch with events on the ground, and to try to shape them. Ford is part of a new generation of diplomats using online tools such as Facebook and Twitter to get their message out.
See the full article (NPR, Michele Kelemen, 2/21/12)
Click to read "The Risks of Isolationism," a USIP On the Issues by Stephen Hadley.
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Iran's National Internet Gets Late Spring Launch Date
Iran's so-called "national Internet" will be launched in either in late May or June, according to an announcement by Iranian Telecommunications Minister Reza Taghipour. Taghipour said the national Internet is one of the steps Iran is taking toward creating infrastructures aimed at boosting its cyber-defense capabilities. Iranian officials have been promising to launch a national Internet since at least 2006. But they have provided little details about its scope, which has stoked fears that it could cut off citizen's access to the World Wide Web.
See the full article (RFE/RL, Golnaz Esfandiari, 2/21/12)
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Exposing the Darknet
They call it the darknet. It's an Internet network hidden from most of us, websites and networks where users are anonymous and nearly impossible to trace. Some say it's a dangerous forum for society's evils. But there are many legitimate reasons to be anonymous on the Internet. Many people living under repressive regimes, like those who launched the Arab Spring, rely on these networks to remain safe.
See the full article (NPR, 2/21/12)
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Syria Arrests Top Blogger, Rights Activist: Lawyer
Security forces on Thursday arrested blogger Razan Ghazzawi, symbol of the 11-month uprising in Syria, along with rights activist Mazen Darwish and 12 others, opposition figures said. Human rights lawyer Anwar Bunni said Ghazzawi, 31, was arrested in an early afternoon raid on the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression. Ghazzawi, a Syrian-American, has written her "Razaniyyat" blog under her real name since 2009. Her Twitter feed -- @RedRazan -- is followed by more than 6,500 people.
See the full article (AFP, Rana Moussaoui, 2/16/12)
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Tweeting a War: How One Journalist is Using Twitter in Afghanistan
Journalists are using Twitter more and more these days, even in an unlikely place: Afghanistan. With about a million active Internet users out of a total population of just less than 35 million, it may seem strange that Afghan news writers are turning to the 140-or-less character web messaging service. But Mustafa Kazemi, a reporter covering politics and the war in his home country, says journalists are using the service to share up-to-the-second news with followers across the country and the world.
See the full article (Mashable, Alex Fitzpatrick, 2/20/12)
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Yemenis to Participate in SMS Election Monitoring
For the first time, ordinary Yemenis will be able to monitor the country's elections as they go to the polls on February 21. The project, called "Ersod" in Arabic or "Watch" in English, allows people to monitor the elections, reporting any violations or suspicious activities by sending an SMS message to 3377. Each text message then goes to a committee that will investigate any alleged violations, such as the use of state-owned cars to transport voters, threatening and intimidating voters, or failing to check ID cards.
See the full article (Yemen Times, Anas Rawi, 2/16/12)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"Digital Humanitarianism: Paul Conneally" - TEDxRC2
The disastrous earthquake in Haiti taught humanitarian groups an unexpected lesson: the power of mobile devices to coordinate, inform, and guide relief efforts. At TEDxRC2, Paul Conneally shows extraordinary examples of social media and other new technologies becoming central to humanitarian aid.
See the full video
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