USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, November 15 - 28, 2012

Please note: This Roundup contains two weeks' worth of highlights due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

Media and the Gaza-Israel Conflict

What's New from PeaceMedia

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

Media and Journalism

Videos Spark Election Scandal In Kyrgyzstan
Authorities in Kyrgyzstan have launched an investigation into videos in which a candidate appears to be familiarizing party faithful with ways to engage in the kind of vote fraud that sparked a revolution there less than a decade ago. In the "carousel voting" scheme outlined in the videos, people submit ballots at a number of different polling stations. Since Kyrgyzstan's own Tulip Revolution erupted over flawed elections in 2005, the practice has marred elections in Kazakhstan and Russia and been alleged elsewhere.
See the full article (RFE/RL, 11/28/12)
[Return to top]

Pakistan Courts 'Muzzling Media': Rights Group
Pakistan's judges are using contempt of court laws to stop the media from criticising the judiciary, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday, warning they risked being seen as "instruments of coercion and censorship". High courts in Islamabad and the eastern city of Lahore have issued a series of orders in recent months seeking to block television shows critical of judges, the New York-based campaign group said.
See the full article (AFP, 11/27/12)
[Return to top]

In a Democratic Tunisia, Parliament Wrestles With How to Regulate the Press
The elections of October 23, 2011, were by all means historic for Tunisia and the whole Arab region. Besides drafting a new Constitution, one of the main tasks of [the National Constituent] Assembly is to create the principal institutions that will govern different aspects of the country's political, social and economic life. That includes the institution that will be in charge of media regulation.
See the full article (PBS, Mourad Teyeb, 11/27/12)
[Return to top]

In Pakistan, Big Perks and Big Risks to Being a Journalist
Hamid Mir, a prominent Pakistani journalist known for being antigovernment and antimilitary, escaped an assassination attempt yesterday when a bomb planted under his car failed to explode. Although he received threats from the Taliban, who claimed responsibility for the death threat because he spoke against the group's attack last month on 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, many within the journalist community here believe it was Mir's criticism of the Pakistani military that may have made him a target.
See the full article (Christian Science Monitor, Taha Siddiqui, 11/27/12)
[Return to top]

Journalistic Toll Rises in Syria
The media toll in Syria continued last week with the deaths of at least seven journalists. State TV journalist Bassel Tawfiq Youssef was killed on 21 November in Damascus. He was shot by rebels who accused him of belonging to a pro-government militia. Citizen journalist Hozan Abdel Halim Mahmoud was killed while filming clashes between the rebels and a Kurdish militia in the northeastern province of Al-Hasaka on 20 November.
See the full article (Guardian, 11/26/12)
[Return to top]

Sudan Blocks Three Newspapers for "Plot" Coverage - Journalists
Sudanese security agents blocked the Monday editions of three newspapers that had covered the arrest of a former spy chief over an alleged plot, journalists said, a move that highlighted the sensitivity of the issue. Analysts outside Sudan said the arrests lifted the lid on divisions in Sudan's power structure and could be seen as a warning to people suspected of planning to challenge the authority of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.
See the full article (Reuters, 11/26/12)
[Return to top]

Report: Somali Government Impunity Endangers Journalists; 18 Reporters Killed So Far This Year
Somalia's journalists are urging their new government and the international community to help end the impunity they say is contributing to making Somalia one of the world's most dangerous countries to practice journalism. Journalists in almost every region of the country commonly face harassment, blackmail, arbitrary police detention and, in addition, criminals are hired to suppress them.
See the full article (AP, 11/23/12)
[Return to top]

Reporters Emerge from Shadows as Myanmar Loosens Grip on Press
It was "censorship day," the 20th of the month, the day Nyein Nyein Naing, executive director of Myanmar's Seven Days News Journal, takes her stories to a government office for pre-publication scrutiny. Normally, a report on refugees fleeing from the conflict-ravaged Kachin state would not be accepted. Its distribution would most likely result in jail time for the author and suspension of the journal.
See the full article (CNN, Michelle Cohan, 11/20/12)
Click to read "President Obama's Historic Burma Visit," a USIP On the Issues by Priscilla Clapp.
[Return to top]

More Journalists Are Slain as a Culture of Impunity Thrives in Pakistan
At least two journalists, one full-time and a part-time, have been killed in Pakistan's restive southwestern Balochistan province in the past one week. Death squads affiliated with Pakistani military's intelligence agencies and Baloch armed nationalists, who seek a separate homeland for the ethnic Baloch people, have both been blamed for targeting journalists. None of the groups has, however, accepted responsibility for the fresh killings in Panjgur.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Malik Siraj Akbar, 11/18/12)
[Return to top]

Jamming TV Satellite Broadcasts: Who is Doing It, and How?
There has been an increase in the number of complaints about the jamming of satellite TV signals around the world. Broadcasters such as the BBC, Voice of America, France 24, Deutsche Welle and Al-Jazeera have all seen transmissions of their international programmes jammed recently. The European Broadcasting Union has accused Iran and Syria of being behind the disruption and of attacking media freedom. But how does satellite jamming work? And what can be done about it?
See the full article (BBC, 11/16/12)
[Return to top]

Kabul Movie Houses Take a Break From Insurgents and Chaos
A symptom of the war in Afghanistan is that the images traveling west from the country are often bleak. That has an unintentional distancing effect for audiences, says photographer Jonathan Saruk. He worries that after seeing so many pictures of Afghan drug addicts, jihadists and amputees that people in the United States might be unable to relate to Afghans as people any more.
See the full article (Wired, Jakob Schiller, 11/16/12)
Click to read about Tech@State's upcoming workshop "Open Data for Afghan Elections" with USIP's Michael Dwyer on November 30 at 1:30pm.
[Return to top]


Internet and Social Media

Integrity of Internet Is Crux of Global Conference
A commercial and ideological clash is set for next week, when representatives of more than 190 governments, along with telecommunications companies and Internet groups, gather in Dubai for a once-in-a-generation meeting. The subject: Control of the Internet, politically and commercially. Groups as diverse as Google, the Internet Society, the International Trade Union Confederation and Greenpeace warn that the discussions could set a bad precedent.
See the full article (New York Times, Eric Pfanner, 11/27/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
[Return to top] | [Return to section]

Tajikistan Blocks Facebook Access to Silence Critics
The ban on the popular social networking site is the latest crackdown on dissent in Tajikistan a year before an election that could extend [President Imomali] Rakhmon's two-decade rule. Victory in a November 2013 election would give the 60-year-old former cotton farm boss a further seven years in charge of a country still finding its way after a civil war in the 1990s that killed tens of thousands.
See the full article (Reuters, Roman Kozhevnikov, 11/27/12)
[Return to top] | [Return to section]

Park Jeong-geun, South Korean Twitter User, Imprisoned for Retweeting North Korean Tweets
A South Korean man has received a suspended 10-month prison term for retweeting North Korean propaganda posts. The Suwon District Court cited the National Security Law in its ruling Wednesday against Park Jeong-geun. The law prohibits praising and glorifying North Korea. Park could have received seven years in prison. Seoul and Pyongyang technically remain at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended with a truce.
See the full article (AP, 11/21/12)
[Return to top] | [Return to section]


Media and the Gaza-Israel Conflict

Using War as Cover to Target Journalists
The setting at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel on Tuesday represented the height of refinement, but Alan Rusbridger, editor in chief of The Guardian, reminded the black-tie crowd at the annual dinner for the Committee to Protect Journalists of something it knew all too well: in many parts of the globe, its profession is under murderous assault. On the same day as the Waldorf event, three employees of news organizations were killed in Gaza by Israeli missiles.
See the full article (New York Times, 11/25/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
[Return to top] | [Return to section]

In Gaza Conflict, Fighting With Weapons and Postings on Twitter
You furnish the pictures, the American press baron boasted a century ago, as the story goes, and I'll furnish the war. The violent conflict in Gaza between Hamas and Israel, halted after a cease-fire agreed to on Wednesday, has certainly produced powerful images of death and suffering that have been immediately circulated through social networks, no newspaper baron needed.
See the full article (New York Times, Noam Cohen, 11/21/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
[Return to top] | [Return to section]

15-Year-Old Egyptian Cyber Activist Takes on Israel
Last week, when the Israel Defense Forces threatened to pull the switch on the Internet in Gaza, Nour Haridy wanted a backup plan. So the 15-year-old high-school student from Cairo went on Twitter and asked in Arabic and English for help on how Gazans could get back online in the event of a shutoff. What happened next shows the fine line between so-called cyberactivism-or using social media and the Internet to fight an information war-and hacking.
See the full article (Daily Best, 11/21/12)
[Return to top] | [Return to section]

Inside Israel's Social-Media Command Center
With so much attention given to the digital war between Hamas and Israel, it was only a matter of time before we were going to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the IDF's social media command center. Tablet, BuzzFeed, and FastCompany have gained access to the team -- and what they find is a nimble and progressive operation that's taking active learning cues from its daily experience liveblogging the war.
See the full article (Atlantic, Brian Fung, 11/20/12)
[Return to top] | [Return to section]

Israel's Gaza Internet Chokehold Stokes Fears of Shutdown
Israel's advantage over Palestinian militants extends beyond the powerful military apparatus it has deployed this week in response to the rockets landing on its citizens. Israel also has unique control over connectivity. Gaza's telephone networks and Internet servers run through Israel, which gives Israel a potential chokehold over communications inside the Palestinian territory.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Gerry Smith, 11/20/12)
[Return to top] | [Return to section]

Foreign Journalists Pour Into Gaza to Cover Conflict
It's hard to pin down exactly how many journalists have recently entered Gaza, given that some members of the media could have been there before Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense or have entered through the Egyptian border. But figures provided by the Israeli government to The Huffington Post indicate that significantly more foreign journalists are reporting from Gaza than there were four years ago.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Michael Calderone, 11/20/12)
[Return to top] | [Return to section]

Gaza and the Tactical Military Use of Social Media
Over the past week, we've been tracking closely how Israel and Hamas are bringing the conduct of war into the Internet age. The latest example comes from this advisory, whipped up by an apparent civilian named Evyatar Tabib. The image urges Israelis not to tweet about the location of Gazan rocket landings for fear of giving Hamas information it can use to adjust its aim.
See the full article (Atlantic, Brian Fung, 11/19/12)
[Return to top] | [Return to section]

As Twitter War Rages, #stoptheterror Instagrams Aim to Wage Peace
As the world continues to hope for a cease-fire between Israel and militants in Gaza following days of deadly violence, one Israeli decided to take matters to social media. Ido Simyoni, a television producer from Israel, decided to start a project asking people to post images on photo-sharing service Instagram and tag them #stoptheterror. The result? More than 5,000 photos as of Monday from as far afield as Portugal and South Korea.
See the full article (CNN, 11/19/12)
[Return to top] | [Return to section]

Press Unease at Deepening Gaza Conflict
As violence between Israel and militants in Gaza continues, the Palestinian press continues its defiant stance, while papers in Israel betray a sense of unease that Tel Aviv has now become a target. One pan-Arab paper says that Egypt is restoring its dignity in the post-Mubarak era by taking a firm stand against Israel. But Egypt's largest daily says it must be cautious about any moves to sever completely its ties with Israel, to avoid drawing the region into a war.
See the full article (BBC, 11/16/12)
[Return to top] | [Return to section]

YouTube Refuses to Yank Israeli Kill Video as Hamas Attacks Jerusalem
YouTube is rejecting calls to take down a video showing the assassination of Hamas' military leader, despite the video-sharing service's apparent ban on "graphic or gratuitous violence." Israel launched its "Operation Pillars of Defense" on Wednesday by blowing up Ahmed al-Jabari as he was driving his car down the street in Gaza. Hours later, aerial footage of the kill shot was posted to YouTube - and instantly went viral, racking up nearly two million views.
See the full article (Wired, Noah Shachtman, 11/16/12)
[Return to top] | [Return to section]

Does the Israel-Hamas Internet War Violate Twitter's Terms of Service?
We're now in day two of Israel's military offensive in Gaza. AllThingsD's Mike Isaac asks whether the IDF's swaggering taunt to Hamas in the wake of its opening airstrike represented a violation of Twitter's terms of service. In the real, human world, the implied threat behind Israel's tweet is clear -- take cover, or be taken out. It's a bold, brutal statement about the IDF's raw power. But nowhere in there is a "specific" threat of violence.
See the full article (Atlantic, Brian Fung, 11/15/12)
[Return to top] | [Return to section]


What's New from PeaceMedia

"Confronting Sexual Violence in DRC" - ActionAid Australia
One survivor explains what ActionAid is doing to confront the endemic sexual violence prevalent in eastern DRC. As well as distributing food and non-food items to displaced people, ActionAid is also providing psychological support to survivors of sexual violence, and supporting women's organisation to bring an end to the war.
See the full video
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "The Missing Peace Symposium" on February 14, 2013 at 8:30am.
[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