USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, November 8 - 14, 2012

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

End the Culture of Impunity - Don't Let Journalists' Murders Go Unpunished
Here is a date for every journalist's diary: 23 November. It has been chosen as the second International Day to End Impunity by members of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX). The November date was chosen because it marks the third anniversary of the Maguindanao massacre, the single deadliest incident for journalists in recent history, in which 58 people - including 32 journalists and media workers - were murdered in the Philippines.
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 11/14/12)
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Connecting News and Raw Video to Social Action
One month ago, when we heard the story of a 14-year-old Pakistani girl, Malala Yousufzai, brutally shot in the head to silence her outspoken advocacy of girls' education, it's safe to say we were universally horrified. Malala's story is important not only as a political story and a news story, but as a human rights impact story -- and what it can inspire about our desire to get involved and "take action." When we see and hear a story like hers, we want to do something.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Caty Borum Chattoo, 11/9/12)
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Russian Reporter's Murder Was Meant as a Message, Investigator Says
The motive behind the 2006 murder of Anna Politkovskaya, a veteran reporter who was an unstinting critic of the Kremlin and its policies in Chechnya, was to instill fear in the country's journalists, a top criminal investigator said in an interview published Friday. It was a bleak assessment of a case that remains unsolved six years after Ms. Politkovskaya was shot at point-blank range as she arrived home from grocery shopping.
See the full article (New York Times, Anna Kordunsky, 11/9/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Prosecutor Insists on Life Sentence for Burundian Journalist
Burundian journalist Hassan Ruvakuki, who works for French radio station RFI's Swahili service and local broadcaster Bonesha FM, was handed a life sentence, a ruling that was condemned by press rights groups. He was convicted of planning an attack by an armed group that left dozens dead and spreading news of it afterwards. Since the 2010 general elections, Burundi has been rocked by a series of violent acts that have led observers to fear that the country could be sliding back into conflict.
See the full article (AFP, 11/9/12)
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Battlefield Images, Taking No Prisoners
As a form of photojournalism, war photography can sometimes seem to be telling the same story over and over across conflicts and eras. But as technology has grown more sophisticated, photojournalists have been able to bring us ever closer to its daily realities and to offer new ways of understanding the experience of those who live through it. That's one lesson of "War/Photography: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath," now at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, through Feb. 3.
See the full article (New York Times, Carol Kino, 11/8/12)
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Internet and Social Media

Israel Defense Forces Live Blogs Gaza Offensive
The Operation Pillar of Defense that Israel launched in the Gaza Strip today, which included the killing of Hamas military commander Ahmad Jabari, is big news, and could spell a dramatic escalation in the long-simmering violence between the Israeli military and Palestinian militants in Gaza. But there's another remarkable aspect of the offensive: the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has been updating us on the military's actions in close-to-real-time.
See the full article (Foreign Policy, Uri Friedman, 11/14/12)
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How Twitter is Changing the Face of Foreign Policy
Twitter is changing the face of diplomacy; in fact, it's creating an entirely new concept in foreign relations that is changing the way publics are informed by governments. "Twi-plomacy" is a term that describes an increasingly relevant phenomenon of global communication: Twitter's growing influence over the way world leaders communicate with other governments, their own citizens, and the general public.
See the full article (PBS, Eva Harder, 11/14/12)
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Ivory Coast's 'iPad Government' Embraces New Media
Social networking sites and online innovation are changing the face of government, activism and business in Ivory Coast and throughout Africa. The 2010 - 2011 post-election conflict that killed 3,000 people in Ivory Coast proved to be a technological testing ground. A group of programmers had already set up a site to map what was happening during the election and created the twitter hash tag #CIV2010. It, and other Ivorian hashtags, became sources of up-to-the minute information on news and violence.
See the full article (Voice of America, Anne Look, 11/14/12)
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Google: 'Government Surveillance is on the Rise'
It's not just Petraeus. Google is seeing ever greater efforts by governments to monitor citizens' online activity. Three years ago a small team at Google decided to start releasing data on the requests they receive from governments to share or remove data from the Internet. At the time, savvy Internet users might have understood that governments do make these requests, but having any sense of the scale of the problem fell beyond what was knowable from public information.
See the full article (Atlantic, Rebecca J. Rosen, 11/13/12)
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Several Arrested After Iranian Blogger's Death in Custody
Iran's prosecutor-general says several people have been arrested in connection with the case of blogger Sattar Beheshti, a critic of the Iranian establishment, who died in custody earlier this month. Beheshti, 35, was arrested at his home in Robat Karim, southwest of the Iranian capital, on October 30 by Iran's cyberpolice for what authorities said were "actions against national security on social networks and Facebook."
See the full article (RFE/RL, Golnaz Esfandiari, 11/13/12)
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Chinese Authorities Putting Pressure on Businesses to Help Censor the Web
As the Chinese cyberpolice stiffened controls on information before the Communist Party leadership transition taking place this week, some companies in Beijing and nearby cities received orders to aid the cause. Starting earlier this year, Web police units directed the companies, which included joint ventures involving American corporations, to buy and install hardware to log the traffic of hundreds or thousands of computers, block selected Web sites, and connect with local police servers.
See the full article (New York Times, Jonathan Ansfield, 11/13/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Azerbaijan is the Wrong Place to Hold a Forum on Internet Freedom
Freedom of expression has been at the top of the agenda this week in Baku at the internet governance forum, an annual United Nations "multi-stakeholder" meeting. The IGF has previously been held in less democratic states, such as pre-Arab-spring Egypt, and was set up by the UN world summit on the information society, held in Tunisia (and Geneva). But the Azerbaijan government has been particularly vicious in its attacks on journalists and bloggers.
See the full article (Guardian, Ian Brown, 11/13/12)
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Cyber-cops in United Arab Emirates Given More Leeway for Crackdowns on Web Activism
The United Arab Emirates set stricter Internet monitoring and enforcement codes Tuesday that include giving authorities wider leeway to crack down on Web activists for offenses such as mocking the country's rulers or calling for demonstrations. The measures are another sign of tougher cyber-policing efforts by Western-backed leaders across the Gulf amid growing concerns over perceived political or security threats since the Arab Spring uprisings.
See the full article (AP, 11/13/12)
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The Places Where America's Drones Are Striking, Now on Instagram
So far this year the American military has launched more than 330 drone strikes in Afghanistan alone. In Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia the numbers are smaller -- 80 altogether -- but the lesser frequency doesn't make the strikes any more comprehensible. A new project, Dronestagram, is doing the searching for you, marrying the images of Google Maps satellite view to the episodic, image-sharing capacities of Tumblr and Instagram. The rural pockets of Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan have never felt so close and so far away.
See the full article (Atlantic, Rebecca J. Rosen, 11/12/12)
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Pakistani Officials Consider Options for Filtering YouTube
For two months, Pakistanis have been unable to call up YouTube to watch an anti-Islam video that sparked deadly riots here and elsewhere in the Muslim world. But neither have they been able to use the service to view the U.S. presidential debates, to catch the "Gangnam Style" craze or even to laugh at silly kitties in the Friskies Internet Cat Video Awards. Now, the netizens of Pakistan are telling the government that they want their YouTube back, prompting a reevaluation of the ban.
See the full article (Washington Post, Michele Langevine Leiby, 11/11/12)
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Why Social Media - Not Violence - Could Bring Change to Oman
The Arab Spring left the Gulf state of Oman relatively unscathed, with long-term ruler Sultan Qaboos moving to quieten discontent by introducing reforms, but how long can tradition hold back calls for change? The ubiquity of social media, and the impossibility of controlling them, is causing panic. The government has been busy all summer prosecuting - and jailing - dozens of online activists. Yet the red lines are not fixed. Instead, it is all about self-censorship.
See the full article (BBC, Matthew Teller, 11/8/12)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"War Redefined" - PBS
The capstone of Women, War & Peace, War Redefined challenges the conventional wisdom that war and peace are men's domain through incisive interviews with leading thinkers, Secretaries of State and seasoned survivors of war and peace-making. Their experiences reveal how the post-Cold War proliferation of small arms has changed the landscape of war, with women becoming primary targets and suffering unprecedented casualty rates.
See the full video
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