USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, September 27 - October 3, 2012

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

Lebanese Investigative Journalist Tortured
Rami Aysha, a correspondent for several media outlets, including Time magazine and Spiegel Online, was tortured during his 28-day detention by Lebanese security forces. He spent six days in a military custody before being arraigned before a military judge. He was initially charged with being involved in the very crimes he was investigating - arms smuggling and trafficking.
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 10/3/12)
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Pro-Assad Media Gives Government View of Syrian Conflict
For much of the world, the war in Syria is seen through videos and voices of activists and citizens who tell of government attacks on residential areas and the crushing of a defiant opposition trying to oust an autocratic leader. But listen to pro-government media and it is an alternate universe, in which the army is friend, not foe. Since the conflict began, President Bashar al-Assad has allowed certain internal opposition, as long as it acts within government strictures.
See the full article (Voice of America, Elizabeth Arrott, 10/3/12)
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From War Zones, Photographer Brings Scars and Searing Images
Sebastian Rich has covered every major war and conflict of the past 30 years. Children in Conflict, an exhibition at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., is showcasing a selection of images from Rich's career alongside a new body of work produced for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. The new collection illustrates the plight of Afghan refugees in the Jalozai refugee camp in Pakistan.
See the full article (NBC News, 10/2/12)
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Protests over Pakistan Reporter's Killing
Journalists across Pakistan staged protest rallies Tuesday to condemn the killing of a television reporter in insurgency-torn Baluchistan on the Afghan and Iranian border. Police have registered a case against "unidentified gunmen". Baluchistan is one of Pakistan's most deprived areas. Separatist rebels have been fighting since 2004 for autonomy and a greater share of oil, gas and mineral deposits in the southwestern province. Human rights groups say hundreds have been detained, killed or gone missing as government forces try to crush the uprising by ethnic Baluch groups.
See the full article (AFP, 10/2/12)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Youth Bulge, Public Policy, and Prospects for Peace in Pakistan" on October 10 at 9:00 am.
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In Malaysia, Court Backs Right to Print a Newspaper
Obtaining permission to publish a newspaper in Malaysia, where the print media are dominated by government-linked publications, is likely to become easier after a court ruled that the right to freedom of expression includes the right to publish and is a fundamental liberty. A Malaysian court ruled on Monday that the government should not have rejected an application for a print publishing license by Malaysiakini, a popular independent news Web site.
See the full article (New York Times, Liz Gooch, 10/2/12)
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Afghan Media Claim Small Victory in Fight for Press Freedom
Afghan journalists are claiming a small victory in their battle for press freedom after the government agreed to some softening of media restrictions, industry representatives said on Monday. Journalists have been locked in a row with the government for months after authorities proposed a revision of the existing media law, which looked to significantly tighten Kabul's grip over the fledgling but lively Afghan press corps.
See the full article (Reuters, Miriam Arghandiwal, 10/1/12)
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Video Emerges of Austin Tice, U.S. Journalist who Disappeared in Syria
Video footage has emerged showing U.S. freelance journalist Austin Tice being held by a group of masked men toting assault rifles in the first direct evidence of his condition since his disappearance in mid-August. The 47-second video clip came to light Monday after it appeared on a Facebook page associated with supporters of the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
See the full article (Washington Post, James Ball, 10/1/12)
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Iran Court Finds Reuters Journalist Guilty of 'Spreading Lies'
A special media court on Sunday found the Tehran bureau chief of the Thomson Reuters news agency guilty of "spreading lies" against the Islamic system for a video script that briefly described a group of women involved in martial arts training as killers. The Reuters headline was corrected, but it led to the suspension of the Reuters bureau in Tehran in March. Most of the Reuters staff members shifted to Dubai, but Ms. Hafezi, an Iranian citizen, was not allowed to leave Iran.
See the full article (AP, 9/30/12)
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Police Arrest Egyptian TV Station Owner on Trial After Calling for Death of President
The owner of a TV station on trial for incitement after calling for the killing of Egypt's Islamist president Mohammed Morsi was arrested on Sunday in connection with a series of allegations. Authorities last month ordered the closure of Okasha's TV station - Al-Faraeen," or "The Pharoahs" - which he used to launch scathing attacks on Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, the fundamentalist Islamist group from which the president hails.
See the full article (Washington Post, 9/30/12)
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Somalia's War on Journalism
2012 has been a big year for Somali media - after years of covering civil war, rising insurgency and a battle for resources, Somali journalists reported on the country's first election in decades. But there is another reason 2012 has been significant: 13 journalists have been killed in the country this year. Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for a number of the killings this year, but they are by no means the only threat.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, 9/29/12)
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Internet and Social Media

Is Iran's Halal Internet Possible?
For months, against the backdrop of the media focus on Iran's nuclear ambitions and the potential Western response, another story about the Islamic Republic's ambitions has been gaining ground: that story is about the Iranian government's attempt to create its own "halal" internet, cut off from the outside world. But nearly as quickly as Gmail was blocked, the government faced a backlash from citizens. In what may seem like a surprising move, Iran responded by unblocking the service.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, Jillian C. York, 10/2/12)
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Facebook and YouTube Blocked in Kashmir
The government of India-administered Kashmir has blocked Facebook and YouTube, highlighting concerns about a clampdown on freedom of speech in the disputed region. The move follows a gradual increase in online surveillance throughout the past few years in Kashmir, as youths have turned to social media as a form of political expression. Observers say the recent anti-Islam video gave the government the excuse it was looking for and YouTube and Facebook went dead.
See the full article (Christian Science Monitor, Fahad Shah, 10/2/12)
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Text Message Warning to Syrian Rebels
President Bashar al-Assad's regime has sent text messages to mobile phones across Syria with a warning for the rebels: "Game over." The messages signed by the Syrian Arab Army urge the rebels to surrender their weapons and warn that the countdown to evict foreign fighters has begun. The texts are part of the regime's psychological warfare - army helicopters also dropped leaflets warning rebels in Damascus to hand over their arms and seek amnesty last month.
See the full article (Independent, 9/28/12)
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Philippines Law Threatens Press Freedom
A new "cybercrime" law introduced in the Philippines increases punishments for criminal libel and gives the authorities excessive powers to shut down websites and monitor online traffic. One section specifies that criminal libel will apply to acts "committed through a computer system or any other similar means which may be devised in the future. The maximum punishment for computer-related libel is doubled from six to 12 years in prison.
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 9/28/12)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"Sheikha Al Mayassa: Globalizing the Local, Localizing the Global" - TEDWomen
Sheikha Al Mayassa, a patron of artists, storytellers and filmmakers in Qatar, talks about how art and culture create a country's identity -- and allow every country to share its unique identity with the wider world. As she says: "We don't want to be all the same, but we do want to understand each other."
See the full video
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