USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, October 25 - 31, 2012

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

War Reporter: 'My Camera is My Weapon'
When the notoriously violent forces of the Revolutionary United Front marched on Freetown in 1999, [Sorious] Samura, unlike many of his colleagues and compatriots, refused to flee the city. Instead he waited for the rebel army, gained their trust and embedded himself with their rank and file soldiers. This strident nonconformity has made him a compelling storyteller -- a fact perhaps best emphasized by the on and off camera tactics he employed to make "Cry Freetown," his debut film about the brutal civil war that tore apart his native Sierra Leone.
See the full article (CNN, David McKenzie, Jessica Ellis and Lillian Leposo, 10/31/12)
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As One Somali Journalist is Buried, a Top Poet and Comedian is Slain
They buried Somali radio journalist Mohamed Mohamud Turyare on Monday. On Monday night, killers struck again, this time shooting dead one of Somalia's famous poets and radio comedians, Warsame Shire Awale, near his Mogadishu home. Awale, in his 60s, was the 18th Somalia media figure killed this year. Dozens more journalists and media personalities have been injured in the deadliest year on record for Somali journalists.
See the full article (Los Angeles Times, Robyn Dixon, 10/30/12)
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Qatari Draft Media Law Criticised by Rights Group
Qatar's draft media law came under fire on Tuesday from Human Rights Watch, which singled out "loosely worded provisions" penalising criticism of the Gulf emirate and its neighbours. Although the draft calls for abolishing criminal penalties for media law violations, it contains some sweeping provisions. Qatar finances and hosts the pan-Arab satellite TV network Al Jazeera, which has closely covered Arab revolts elsewhere.
See the full article (Reuters, Regan Doherty, 10/30/12)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "The Challenge of Security Sector Reform in the Arab World" on November 5 at 9:30am.
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Memo to Would-be Journalists - Get Your Drone Pilot's Licence
There are wide-ranging possibilities for the use of drone journalism, such as the coverage of conflicts and environmental disasters, and also sports reporting. But there are many potential problems too. Will there be objections from governments and consequent regulatory oversights? Will there be privacy issues? How should news outlets deal with third-party drone content?
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 10/29/12)
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Mapping Iran's Factionalised Media
When a president's chief media guru is locked behind bars - and the president is barred from visiting him - something must be afoot. Ali Akbar Javanfekr is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's top media strategist and the head of the IRNA, a news agency loyal to him. He was jailed recently after criticising the policies of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, 10/27/12)
Click to read "Truth in Reporting: Media and Communications in Conflict," a USIP Olive Branch post by Anand Varghese.
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Shots of War: Photojournalist's Striking Images Offer Rare Look at the War in Afghanistan
James Clark enlisted in the Marine Corps after realizing he wanted to do more than just complain about the state of U.S. affairs. The decision generated a wild if not unforgettable ripple effect in his life, one that found him receiving training as a print and photojournalist through the Basic Writers Course at the Defense Information School, Fort Meade, Md. He served two tours of duty as a Marine in the War in Afghanistan, now into its 11th year.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Greg Archer, 10/26/12)
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Secret Reading in Sudan
The banning of books by the Sudanese authorities has inspired a new reading culture in Khartoum. When Fathi al-Daw, a Sudanese journalist and writer, published a book about the state security apparatus and how it has operated over the past few years, the security apparatus quickly confiscated copies from bookstores in Khartoum, turning it into a much sought-after book, with a badly photocopied version selling at $10.
See the full article (Guardian, Reem Abbas, 10/26/12)
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Internet and Social Media

In India, a Tweet Can Land You in Jail
After seditious cartoons against corruption, now even a Tweet can get you arrested in India. Two recent Twitter-related arrests have triggered concern among many Indian users of social media. The government and the active online community have been at loggerheads over where to draw a line on the issue of freedom of speech. The disagreements have been particularly animated because of an ongoing anti-corruption movement in India which relies heavily on the use of new media to enlist support.
See the full article (Washington Post, Rama Lakshmi, 10/30/12)
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India: Kashmir Protests after Facebook 'Slur'
Muslims in Indian-administered Kashmir have protested against Facebook posts which they say insult Islam. Police have arrested three people, all Hindus, from the Kishtwar district for allegedly running a "campaign" against Islam on the social networking site. Police were put on alert after Muslim leaders called for a shutdown in the valley on Tuesday. Some protestors pelted a local police station with stones and damaged vehicles.
See the full article (BBC, 10/30/12)
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Syria's YouTube 'War' Could Win the War
Another failed ceasefire in Syria once again demands new ways to end the violence. Perhaps the truth-telling tactics of the opposition in YouTube videos can help hollow out the lies of the Assad regime so that his remaining support collapses. The effect is powerful. A string of myths has been knocked down, starting with Mr. Assad's superficial attempt at political reform last year. Also gone is the regime's pretense of widespread support in the Arab and Muslim world.
See the full article (Christian Science Monitor, 10/28/12)
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China's Fake Facebooks
Facebook is blocked in China -but that hasn't prevented homegrown Facebook knock-off sites from sprouting. And even on China's fake Facebooks, real conversations about politics and culture are occurring every day. Jeremy Goldkorn, who monitors Chinese media at his website, talks to [On the Media] about life on China's fake Facebooks.
See the full article (NPR, 10/26/12)
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The Great Firewall of Pakistan
Pakistan was an exception to the rule. Pakistan was also the country with one of the fastest growing cellular markets with an amazingly high penetration. Of late, not only the Internet freedoms have been severely curbed but the government has also started blocking cell phone access. It has been five weeks since Pakistanis last watched their favorite videos on YouTube. The government seems to have taken advantage of the blasphemous-film-fiasco to tighten its control on Internet access.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Saad Khan, 10/26/12)
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China Blocks Web Access to Times After Article
The Chinese government swiftly blocked access Friday morning to the English-language and Chinese-language Web sites of The New York Times from computers in mainland China in response to an article in both languages describing wealth accumulated by the family of the country's prime minister. The authorities were also blocking attempts to mention The Times or the prime minister, Wen Jiabao, in posts on Sina Weibo, an extremely popular mini-blogging service in China that resembles Twitter.
See the full article (New York Times, Keith Bradsher, 10/25/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"Jeremy Gilley: One Day of Peace" - TEDGlobal
Here's a crazy idea: Persuade the world to try living in peace for just one day, every September 21. In this energetic, honest talk, Filmmaker Jeremy Gilley tells the story of how this crazy idea became real -- real enough to help millions of kids in war-torn regions. Gilley founded Peace One Day to create an annual day without conflict.
See the full video
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