USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup



United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, February 23 - 29, 2012

Media and Journalism

Journalist Crisis in Syria

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

**Click here to subscribe to USIP's Science, Technology and Peacebuilding News Roundup.**

Media and Journalism

Israel Raids Palestinian Television Stations
Israeli soldiers raided two Palestinian television stations in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, seizing transmitters the military said were interfering with air traffic communications. The Israeli military said Watan TV and Alquds educational television, which is also based in Ramallah, had been asked repeatedly by Israel to stop using frequencies that cut into Israeli wireless communications and air traffic control bands.
See the full article (Reuters, Ori Lewis, 2/29/12)
[Return to top]

Censorship Returns to Pakistan
The Pakistan government has decided to impose fresh curbs on the country's independent broadcast media. The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), which provides licenses to the channels and is also empowered to revoke them, has issued harsh warnings to the media houses, enjoining them to refrain from giving air time to opposition leaders of the troubled Balochistan province.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Malik Siraj Akbar, 2/28/12)
[Return to top]

Somalia Radio Journalist Abukar Hassan Kadaf Murdered
The head of a private Somali radio station shut down by Islamist militants has been killed outside his home, an eyewitness has told the BBC. Mr. Kadaf had run Radio Somaliweyn until it was looted by al-Shabab in 2010 when the group still operated in the city. War-torn Somalia has not had a functioning central government for more than 20 years and is one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists to work.
See the full article (BBC, Andrew Harding, 2/28/12)
[Return to top]

Myanmar Relaxes Grip on Media, Vows End to Censors
Journalists have been jailed, beaten and blacklisted for decades in Myanmar, and the government continues to censor reporting about politics and other subjects it deems sensitive. But since last year, when the nation's long-entrenched military junta stepped down, censorship has ended on subjects such as health, entertainment, fashion and sports, and reporters are testing the limited freedom that has begun to emerge.
See the full article (AFP, Todd Pittman, 2/27/12)
[Return to top]

Iraq Film Festival Aims to Promote Human Rights
A human rights film festival held in Baghdad is aiming to educate and mobilise citizens at a time when Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government has been accused of sliding toward authoritarianism. "Civil (society) has been destroyed in Iraq for many decades and people have no idea about their rights," Kasim Abid, the director of the Baghdad Eye film festival, told AFP. The festival focuses on three themes: women's rights, the rights of children and youth, and the right to freedom of expression and opinion.
See the full article (AFP, Amelie Herenstein, 2/27/12)
[Return to top]

'Today' Co-Host Hopes to Shed Light on Sudan
[Ann] Curry was in Sudan, interviewing civilians who have been victimized by a government bombing campaign in the Nuba Mountains. What is taking place there, she said in an interview by phone last week, "appears to be ethnic cleansing." Sneaking into the country, Ms. Curry said, was a tough decision, but the right one because "our job as journalists is to find out what's going on, document what's going on and not let it happen in silence."
See the full article (New York Times, Brian Stelter, 2/26/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
[Return to top]

An Arab Vision in Focus
New and social media have played vital roles in coordinating, sharing, and transmitting information and images. But satellite television reaches most homes 24/7, providing hundreds of Arabic-speaking channels. Unlike new media, it requires no interactivity and tends to reach its target audience with much ease and little resistance. The emergence of satellite networks broke the Arab state's hold on media, as satellite networks competed in the political and religious playing fields and through the use of entertainment and pop culture.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, 2/24/12)
[Return to top]

Mexican Journalist on Drug Lords: "If They're Going to Kill You, They're Going to Kill You'
On July 26, 2010, [photojournalist Alejandro Hernandez Pacheco] was part of a TV news crew videotaping at a prison when he was kidnapped at gunpoint, along with two colleagues. The men were released five days later. Authorities believe the kidnappers were members of the notorious Sinaloa cartel. [Committee to Protect Journalists's] "Attacks on the Press in 2011" study shows 48 Mexican journalists have disappeared or have been killed in the last five years across the country.
See the full article (MSNBC, Erika Angulo and Wilma Hernandez, 2/24/12)
[Return to top]

This is Not a Film
Jafar Panahi is an award-winning Iranian director who was recently given a six-year jail sentence and a twenty-year filmmaking ban for what his government has called propaganda against the state. In response, he's made a movie. It's called This is Not a Film, and he shot it in his apartment on a digital camera and an iPhone. Fellow Iranian filmmaker Jamsheed Akrami talks to [On the Media] about the non-film, which was smuggled out of Iran in a cake.
See the full article (NPR, 2/24/12)
Click to read "Sanctions and Saber-Rattling ," a USIP On the Issues by Raymond Gilpin.
[Return to top]

Community Radios in Colombia Tune In for Peace
Helping demobilised far-right paramilitaries reintegrate into society by returning to school [is one] of the early outcomes of a project involving community radio stations in a remote area of northwest Colombia. Of course, the initiative will not reach all 56,000 paramilitaries demobilised over the past decade, nor all of the victims of the armed conflict. But it is teaching radio production and broadcasting skills while producing 120 10-minute programmes that will be distributed to the radio stations participating in the project.
See the full article (Inter Press Service, Helda Martínez, 2/23/12)
[Return to top]


Journalist Crisis in Syria

Red Cross Attempt to Evacuate Journalists from Syria Fails
Attempts to evacuate journalists from the besieged city of Homs on Monday failed, the BBC reports, citing the Red Cross. Vehicles reached the besieged suburb where the journalists were but left without them. There were conflicting reports about why the journalists could not be evacuated. The Syrian Foreign Ministry accused "armed groups" of refusing to hand them over. Opposition activists, however, said the wounded journalists refused to leave because they did not trust the group that had approached them.
See the full article (Washington Post, Elizabeth Flock, 2/28/12)
[Return to top]

Shoot the Journalists: Syria's Lesson from the Arab Spring
The regime of Bashar al-Assad has learned the lessons of the Arab spring when it comes to dealing with the media - both citizen journalists and international outlets. It banned, arrested and expelled international journalists and detained local reporters who tried to cover the protests. It disabled mobile phones, landlines, electricity, and the internet in cities where the protests broke out, and used violence to extract the passwords of social media sites from journalists.
See the full article (Guardian, 2/25/12)
[Return to top]

Syria and the Risks of Covering Conflicts
We are enemies of the state and the deaths of Marie Colvin and Rémi Ochlik this week show we are being treated as such. Most journalists don't go to war planning to die. But with each year that passes there seems to be more to think about, at moments even to worry. Every death of a close colleague gives pause for thought, and wrenching conversations with fellow travellers.
See the full article (Guardian, 2/24/12)
[Return to top]

Journalists in the Line of Fire
Outrage over the deaths of Marie Colvin, a veteran American correspondent of the London Sunday Times, and Rémi Ochlik, a young, award-winning French photographer, may indeed prove a turning point in the world's response to the Damascus regime. Journalists have always taken risks in pursuit of the story. But in recent years the game has changed - both in terms of the nature of news coverage and the nature of the risks that journalists run - and that has been reflected in rising casualty figures.
See the full article (New York Times, Harvey Morris, 2/23/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
[Return to top]

Risk Level in Syria has Media Outlets in Quandary Over Coverage
French photographer Remi Ochlik and American journalist Marie Colvin were killed in Homs, activists and a French government spokeswoman said. Taken together with the death of New York Times correspondent Anthony Shadid, who suffered a fatal asthma attack last week after a reporting stint in Syria, this turn of events puts outlets in the most unenviable of positions: Send reporters into the war zones at an almost-impossible risk level or stay on the margins and try to get the story indirectly.
See the full article (Washington Post, Erik Wemple, 2/23/12)
[Return to top]

Why War Reporters Go Solo, Despite the Risks
Historically, most wars were fought between national armies with well-defined battle zones. War correspondents often worked closely with one army. But most conflicts aren't like that anymore. In Syria, as with the other Arab uprisings, government forces have been battling ragtag groups of rebel fighters. And for a correspondent trying to cover this battle, there's only one real option - go with the rebels. That's where the story is, even if the risks are greater.
See the full article (NPR, Greg Myre, 2/23/12)
[Return to top]

Wounded Reporters in Syria's Homs Appeal for Ceasefire
Wounded foreign journalists trapped inside a besieged rebel-held neighborhood in Syria on Thursday appealed for a ceasefire so they could be evacuated and receive proper medical care. French journalist Edith Bouvier and Paul Conroy, a British photographer from the Sunday Times, made their plea by video as the sound of rocket fire echoed in the background. They were two of six Western journalists who came under fire on Wednesday when Syrian forces attacked the building where they were hiding.
See the full article (Reuters, Erika Solomon, 2/23/12)
[Return to top]


Internet and Social Media

Out-recruiting Pakistan's Extremists
Taking examples from the Arab Spring, Pakistani youth are also using social media forums such as Twitter and Facebook to promote peace initiatives. Online petitions like, which has over 15,000 signatories, urge Pakistanis to foster pluralism. Similarly, Facebook pages like "A call to youth to bring peace in Karachi" mobilized students to participate in a march against targeted killings in August 2011 when political violence was at its height.
See the full article (Foreign Policy, Mehreen Farooq and Waleed Ziad, 2/29/12)
[Return to top]

Waking Up to the War in Balochistan
The nationalist insurgency in the Pakistani province of Balochistan does not often command international attention. But where the news media struggles, blogs flourish. Malik Siraj Akbar says that the world now looks to these blogs for news from the province. "This is like Balochistan's mini-Arab Spring, and the credit goes to those bloggers who have risked their lives to bring truth to the fore."
See the full article (BBC, Amber Shamsi, 2/28/12)
[Return to top]

Wikileaks: Pakistan Army Officials 'Knew of Bin Laden House'
Mid-ranking Pakistani army officials may have known that Osama Bin Laden had a safe house in Pakistan, leaked material appears to indicate. The claim was made in e-mails allegedly from US-based security think tank Stratfor, which were published by the whistleblowing website Wikileaks. Stratfor's computers were hacked by the activist group Anonymous in December.
See the full article (BBC, Gordon Corera, 2/28/12)
Click to read "From Peaceful Schools to Peaceful Communities in Pakistan," a USIP Grant Highlight by Barmak Pazhwak.
[Return to top]

Incredible Footage Reveals Life Under Siege in Homs, Syria
One of the most remarkable aspects of the Syrian revolt has been the number of regular citizens documenting the chaos from inside the country, by uploading homemade videos to YouTube and other social media sites. The difficulty for Westerners trying to follow the story is that most of the videos are of poor quality, shared without context, are in Arabic, come from a source that's impossible to verify, or are simply too gruesome to show on television.
See the full article (Atlantic, Dashiell Bennett, 2/24/12)
[Return to top]

Why Don't We Care About Syria?
The Syrian uprising should be the kind of story that takes social media by storm. It has extraordinary acts of resistance, People are, of course, tweeting about Syria, but interest seems to be more concentrated among activists or Middle East specialists. The wider social media audience hasn't engaged in the way it did with Iran and Egypt. As we can see from these estimates below, the volume of Syria-related tweets (as a percentage of overall tweets) appears considerably lower than the volume related to the uprisings in Egypt and Iran.
See the full article (Slate, Emily Parker, 2/24/12)
[Return to top]

Azerbaijani TV Attacked by Iranian Hacker
Azerbaijani state television's website has been vandalized in a hacking attack, apparently by hackers based in neighboring Iran. The attacks have taken place amid tensions between the Azerbaijani and Iranian governments. The Islamic regime in Tehran has reportedly been displeased by friendlier links between Azerbaijan and Israel in recent months. Azerbaijan has accused Iran of sponsoring Islamic radicals on its territory.
See the full article (RFE/RL, 2/23/12)
[Return to top]

Young Libyan Finds a Voice in Covering Revolution
Notepad, pen and cellphone at the ready, and wearing his trademark beige photographer's vest, [Malik Muhammad al-Mabrouk] was preparing to interview a former opposition leader who recently returned to Libya after 30 years in exile. Nothing unusual for a working journalist, except that his deadline was also his bedtime: Malik is 14 years old. He now leads a team of 10 volunteer reporters covering Libyan news, publishing articles and photographs on the BNA Facebook page. Malik is moving into television as well, posting video interviews on his Brega97 YouTube channel.
See the full article (New York Times, Mike Elkin, 2/22/12)
[Return to top]


What's New from PeaceMedia

"Artists Use Graffiti to Tell Egypt Revolution's Stories" - Al Jazeera
Running south from Tahrir Square toward Egypt's interior ministry in central Cairo, Mohamed Mahmoud street has become one of the revolution's most violent battlegrounds. Twelve people died in the area during February street battles between protesters and police stemming from a deadly football riot in Port Said. With the neighbourhood calm, at least for the moment, Mohamed Mahmoud now serves as a canvas for some of Egypt's most creative revolutionary street art.
See the full video
[Return to top]

Click here to subscribe to USIP's Science, Technology and Peacebuilding News Roundup.

Did we miss anything?




Share this: FacebookDeliciousDiggMySpaceStumbleUponGoogleMicrosoftYahoo! BookmarksLinkedIn| Forward this to a Friend


Click here to unsubscribe