USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, May 31 - June 6, 2012

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

Media and Journalism

Army Veterans Use Filmmaking as Therapy for PTSD
With a growing demand for ways to treat the psychological damage of war, one Army pilot project is offering therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder by encouraging soldiers to take control of their own stories in a filmmaking class titled I Was There Media Workshop. Some 2.3 million men and women have served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan in the past decade. The Rand Corp. said as many as 300,000 veterans of those wars may have suffered PTSD or major depression.
See the full article (AP, P. Solomon Banda, 6/6/12)
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Shooting the Messenger: Four Reporters Murdered in Pakistan in One Month
In May 2012 alone, at least four journalists have been killed in Pakistan, increasing to six the total number of slain reporters for this year. Within Pakistan, Balochistan has experienced an upsurge in attacks on journalists in the recent years due to an ongoing conflict that results in a highly insecure environment for reporters. Two journalists, a correspondent of a Sindhi language newspaper and a television reporter for Kawaish Television Network, were killed in Sindh province on May 9th and 10th.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Malik Siraj Akbar, 6/5/12)
Click to read "Saving Lives in Pakistan: the USIP Connection ," a USIP Olive Branch Post by Thomas Omestad.
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Syria's Year of Chaos: Photos of a Slow-Motion Civil War
Slightly more than a year ago, Arab Spring-inspired protests kicked off in the impoverished Syrian agricultural town of Dara'a. The mini-uprising met a brutal response. With Syrian authorities clamping down on journalistic access and freedoms, we saw glimpses of the unrest there for months only through grainy YouTube footage, images as uncertain and hard to corroborate as the events on the ground.
See the full article (TIME, Ishaan Tharoor, 6/5/12)
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Myanmar Article Hints at Strains Between Top Figures
A state-run newspaper in Myanmar published an analysis on Tuesday expressing concerns that undercut the government's message that the country, one of the poorest in Asia, is ripe for investment. The New Light of Myanmar was the government's main mouthpiece under military rule, but with the country's news media landscape now evolving, it is unclear how much the paper reflects the thinking of Mr. Thein Sein's government and whether the article can be taken as an official rebuke or warning.
See the full article (New York Times, Thomas Fuller, 6/5/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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The Six-Day War: Photos from a Short, Bloody Conflict
[Photos] from LIFE photographer Paul Schutzer's last roll of film before he was killed in combat in Gaza on the first day of the Six-Day War. Schutzer was traveling in an Israeli half-track as they advanced towards the Egyptian border [on] June 5, 1967. The war, fought 45 years ago from June 5-10, helped bolster Israel's legend of military invincibility but also left a legacy of displacement and bitterness that unsettles the region to this day.
See the full article (TIME, 6/5/12)
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Photos: A Gallery of Vietnam War Photography by Nick Ut 40 Years after His 'Napalm Girl' Photo
The Vietnam War had been raging for years. On June 8, 1972, a single photo communicated the horrors of the fighting in a way words could never describe, helping to end one of the most divisive conflicts in American history. In the Pulitzer Prize-winning image, children run screaming from a burning Vietnamese village. The little girl in the center of the frame, Kim Phuc, is naked and crying, her clothes and layers of skin melted away by napalm. Now, four decades later, Nick Ut and Kim Phuc remain close.
See the full article (Washington Post, 6/4/12)
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North Korea Threatens to Blow up Media Offices over Critical Coverage
North Korea's military threatened on Monday to blow up the Seoul offices of South Korean media outlets following critical coverage of a mass children's event in Pyongyang. The military general staff said missile units and other forces had fixed the longitude and latitude coordinates for several firms' offices in central Seoul. The North's military accused conservative South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak of inciting the coverage and called on him to apologise to avert an attack.
See the full article (Telegraph, 6/4/12)
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One Syrian Journalist on Houla, Assad and Why He Hasn't Left
More civilians have been killed in Syria in the last year than in Afghanistan and Iraq combined. Since Syria's uprising erupted 14 months ago, Syrian journalists living and working abroad returned home to report on the growing conflict from within their own country. From the beginning, journalists attempting to report from Syria confronted perilous threats. Even the act of speaking to journalists risk conviction of treason by the Assad regime.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Marcos Barbery, 6/1/12)
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Israel's Attorney General to Indict Reporter
Israel's attorney general has decided to indict an Israeli journalist who in an investigative report revealed that top army officers had approved killings of wanted Palestinian militants in the West Bank, charging him with illegal possession of classified documents. The move against Uri Blau, a reporter with the liberal newspaper Haaretz, drew sharp criticism from civil rights advocates and prominent defense correspondents, who called it a blow to freedom of the press.
See the full article (Washington Post, Joel Greenberg, 5/31/12)
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Internet and Social Media

PSNI Warning over West Belfast Facebook Sectarian Posts
Police have threatened to prosecute people who posted a series of sectarian messages on the PSNI west Belfast Facebook page. Police also warned that they may 'pull the plug' on the wall posts. In a statement on Monday, a police press officer said the messages had been removed and the content would be examined to assess if any laws had been broken. "It is important to remember posting inappropriate comments on social media networks may be against the law," she said.
See the full article (BBC, 6/4/12)
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Kuwaiti Tweeter Gets 10 Years for Blasphemy
A Kuwaiti man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for insulting the Prophet Muhammad and the Sunni Muslim rulers of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on microblogging website Twitter. In recent months, Kuwaiti courts have issued jail terms against tweeters and activists amid a sharp rise in sectarian tensions between the emirate's Sunni majority and Shi'ite minority.
See the full article (RFE/RL, 6/4/12)
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China Blocks Tiananmen Talk on Crackdown Anniversary
China's censors blocked internet access to the terms "six four", "23", "candle" and "never forget" on Monday, broadening extensive efforts to silence talk about the 23rd anniversary of China's bloody June 4 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. Searches for the terms related to the anniversary were blocked on Sina Weibo, the most popular of China's Twitter-like microblogging platforms. Users encountered a message that said the search results could not be displayed "due to relevant laws, regulations and policies".
See the full article (Reuters, Sui-Lee Wee and Ben Blanchard, 6/4/12)
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Chinese Censorship Gets Complicated
Chinese censorship is nothing new. But recently the relationship between censor and dissident has grown more complicated as the government comes to accept that social media is no longer something it can simply take away from Chinese citizens. [On the Media] speaks with Slate's Jacob Weisberg, who recently traveled to China and spoke with some tech-savvy new dissidents.
See the full article (NPR, 6/1/12)
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Google to Alert Users to Chinese Censorship
Google has quietly upped the ante in a long-running dispute with the Chinese authorities over censorship, adding a software twist to its search page that warns users when they type a search term whose results are likely to be blocked in China. The change is described as an improvement in the search experience for users in mainland China, who can be disconnected from Google without explanation when they try to open a Web page that was found using a censored search term.
See the full article (New York Times, Michael Wines, 6/1/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Wadah Khanfar: Syrian Social Media Proved Vital and Accurate
Wadah Khanfar, the former director general of Al Jazeera Wadar, warned news outlets today about embracing "the narrative of the government." News outlets early on could not get into the country to find out what was happening on the ground for themselves. "When the revolution started, we did not have access to the field," he said, and many journalists unable to get their own cameras on the ground were instead following the footage emerging on social media networks and accounts from activists.
See the full article (, Rachel McAthy, 5/31/12)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"Harness Technology for Social Change" - US Embassy Tel Aviv
"TechCamp Tel Aviv" brought Israeli Arab and Jewish civil society organizations together under the theme of women's empowerment with the focus on education and entrepreneurship. The two-day, interactive event exposed the participants to a range of low cost, easy-to-implement technologies that assisted them in creating new avenues of communication, community and network building techniques, leveraging of mobile applications, and inspire out-of-the-box solutions to the common problems faced in advancing the role of women in today's society.
See the full video
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