USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, January 17 - 23, 2013

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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

Media and Journalism

Algeria Militants Played Shrewd Media Game
As wildly contradictory accounts trickled out about a terror attack at an Algerian gas plant, one source of information proved to be the most reliable: announcements by the al-Qaida-linked militants themselves. All this came via a Mauritanian news website that - apart from receiving calls from radical Islamists and al-Qaida-linked militants - is known for its reliability on more mundane local news. Algeria's official information, in contrast, was silent and murky.
See the full article (AP, 1/23/13)
[Return to top]

Groups Call for Somali Gov't to Release Journalist
Rights groups on Wednesday called for the
Somali government to release a journalist arrested by police for interviewing a woman who said she was raped by government security forces. The freelance journalist, Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim, and three others accused in the case have been held for more than a week without charge. The groups said the arrests are linked to an increase in media attention given to the high levels of rape and other sexual violence in Somalia.
See the full article (AFP, Abdi Guled, 1/23/13)
[Return to top]

The News They Carried
Last Thursday was a major news day in Turkey, and part of the story was that the Turkish media failed to report a major event in the Kurdish southeast of the country. The day before, the bodies of three women activists, members of the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party, or P.K.K., were flown from Paris back to Diyarbakir, the unofficial Kurdish capital of eastern Turkey. The women were murdered in their Paris office earlier this month, presumably to scuttle extraordinary negotiations between the Turkish government and the P.K.K.
See the full article (New York Times, Andrew Finkel, 1/23/13) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "The Missing Peace Symposium" on February 14, 2013 at 8:30am.
[Return to top]

Sniper Kills Jazeera Reporter in Syria: TV
A sniper killed an Al-Jazeera reporter in southern Syria on Friday, the pan-Arab television network said, in the second such shooting of a journalist in two days in the conflict-swept country. The killings take the death toll of reporters who have died in Syria's 22-month conflict to at least 20. Outspoken in its support for the revolt against the Assad regime, Al-Jazeera vowed to pursue its editorial line despite the latest killing.
See the full article (AFP, Serene Assir, 1/19/13)
[Return to top]


Internet and Social Media

Keeping the Internet Safe From Governments
Even before the World Conference on International Telecommunications took place last month in Dubai, Internet activists anticipated trouble. So did Congress, which issued a resolution calling it "essential" that the Internet remain "stable, secure and free from governmental control." The worries proved prescient. The conference, which supposedly was going to modernize some ancient regulations, instead offered a treaty that in the eyes of some critics would have given repressive states permission to crack down on dissent.
See the full article (New York Times, David Streitfeld, 1/23/13) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
[Return to top] | [Return to section]

Raif Badawi: Court Refuses to Charge Saudi Blogger
A court in Saudi Arabia has found that a liberal blogger accused of apostasy has no case to answer. The court had the power to sentence Raif Badawi to death had it found him guilty. But it refused to charge him, referring his case back to a lower court. Mr Badawi, the young co-founder of a website called the Liberal Saudi Network, was arrested last year and accused of insulting Islam and showing disobedience. His lawyer says he became a target for Saudi authorities after declaring 7 May last year a "day for Saudi liberals."
See the full article (BBC, Sebastian Usher, 1/22/13)
[Return to top] | [Return to section]

Ask the Experts: Social Media and Conflict Prevention
An increasing number of policymakers and think-tank residents are championing the power of social media and big data to pressure governments, empower civil society, deter human rights abuses through the power of witness, and semi-accurately forecast political instability and conflict without the false positives. The Center for Preventive Action (CPA) recently held a workshop in an effort to better understand how social media and big data can practically be used prevent and mitigate conflict.
See the full article (Council on Foreign Relations, Micah Zenko, 1/22/13)
Click to read "Social Media and Conflict Prevention" a USIP On the Issues by Sheldon Himelfarb.
[Return to top] | [Return to section]

China's Information Challenge
To maintain monopoly control of political power in a country with a hard-charging economy, fast-growing middle class and the rising expectations they create, party officials will do all they can to monitor and manage the flow of information within the country and across its borders. But with more than half a billion Chinese citizens now online, more than 300 million active on Weibo (China's Twitter) and an increasingly ineffective "great firewall," assertions of control over words and ideas reflect little more than wishful thinking.
See the full article (New York Times, Ian Bremmer, 1/22/13) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
[Return to top] | [Return to section]

Winners of the Knight News Challenge: Media Focus on Education, Human Rights
Many of the winners of the Knight News Challenge: Mobile shared the common focus of aiding communities in developing nations through mobile innovations. The challenge's most impressive human rights-related project is WITNESS's open-source InformaCam app. Created in collaboration with the Guardian Project, a development studio specializing in mobile security, the app is intended to aid citizens in documenting human rights violations.
See the full article (Slate, David Sydiongco, 1/22/13)
[Return to top] | [Return to section]

Break All the Rules
We live in an age of social networks in which every leader outside of North Korea today is now forced to engage in a two-way conversation with their citizens. There's no more just top-down. People everywhere are finding their voices and leaders are terrified. We need to turn this to our advantage to gain leverage in diplomacy. I'd suggest trying something radically new: creating the conditions for diplomacy where they do not now exist by going around leaders and directly to the people.
See the full article (New York Times, Thomas Friedman, 1/22/13) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
[Return to top] | [Return to section]

Concerns of a Return to Media Self-censorship in Burma
MPs in Burma have passed an unprecedented motion to investigate the identity of a blogger who posted an article criticising the parliament. The dissident blogger is accused of defaming parliament in a recent post in which he claimed it was acting "above the law". The investigation has raised concerns about the country's progress towards media freedom, which observers say is being hampered by a culture of self-censorship.
See the full article (ABC Radio Australia, 1/18/13)
[Return to top] | [Return to section]

Iran's Supreme Leader Unintentionally Triggers Online Interest In 'Free Elections'
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei shot himself in the foot last week when he called for an end to public demands for free elections. A Google graph shows a spike in the number of searches for the term "free elections" in Persian on January 8 and subsequent days when other officials followed Khamenei's lead and warned against casting doubt on the fairness of elections in Iran.
See the full article (RFE/RL, Golnaz Esfandiari, 1/17/13)
[Return to top] | [Return to section]


What's New from PeaceMedia

"When Disaster Strikes, Ushahidi Gives Social Check-Ins a Purpose" -
Patrick Meier, director of crisis mapping and partnerships at the non-profit tech company Ushahidi, explains how digital devices are capable of crowdsourcing real-time information to create maps of disaster areas. Ushahidi puts a twist on Facebook and Foursquare, providing activists and communities "check-ins with a purpose" during disaster situations.
See the full video
[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