USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, January 24 - 30, 2013

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

Afghanistan Media Boomed During War, But Faces Uncertain Future As U.S. Withdraws
Danish Karokhel, like all Afghan journalists, couldn't report freely during Taliban rule in the 1990s. The Islamic fundamentalist regime allowed only a single, state-run outlet, Radio Sharia, on the air. Then came the bombs, followed by the boom. Since U.S.-led forces toppled the Taliban government in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, U.S. government agencies and international aid organizations have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into building up the Afghan media industry.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Michael Calderone, 1/30/13)
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In Burma, Media Reform Tests the Limits of Free Speech
On the streets of central Rangoon newspaper stands hug every corner, catering to a public that consumes current affairs with voracious appetite. Happily, press freedom in Burma is now healthier than it has been in decades, according to a report released this month by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which sees "historic progress" for Burmese journalists, despite the many challenges that remain. The media environment is, for the most part, getting better.
See the full article (TIME, Charlie Campbell, 1/30/13)
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Kenya Gov't Issues Stern Warning to Int'l Media
Kenya's government spokesman appeared to make a veiled threat Wednesday against international journalists while announcing a tough stance on information deemed divisive surrounding nationwide elections March 4. Government spokesman Muthui Kariuki told a gathering of international reporters that the government will summon journalists who publish stories that have a polarizing effect. He did not say what action would then be taken.
See the full article (AP, Tom Odula, 1/30/13)
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Attacks on Kenyan Journalists Increase
Journalists in Kenya have been suffering from an increasing level of violence ahead of the national elections set for March. This month there have been a series of threats and attacks, including assaults by security officers and members of the public towards journalists who are covering political events. [Human rights body] Article 19 has called on the leaders of all Kenyan political parties to respect media freedom and to recognise the public importance of journalists providing information during the election process.
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 1/30/13)
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Ukrainian General Sentenced to Life in Journalist's Killing
A Ukrainian court sentenced a former security official to life in prison on Tuesday for the death of Georgy Gongadze, a journalist whose mysterious death in 2000 provoked an international outcry and helped set off protests against the president at the time. The killing came to epitomize the role that crime had come to play in Ukrainian politics and provoked a wave of demonstrations that some describe as the first manifestation of the 2004 Orange Revolution.
See the full article (New York Times, Ellen Barry, 1/29/13) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Iran Arrests 14 Journalists Accused of Cooperation with Foreign-based Media Outlets
Iran has arrested 14 journalists for alleged cooperation with foreign-based Persian-language media organizations, several chief editors of Iranian outlets said Monday. The arrests signal a major escalation in a press crackdown that reflects Iran's zero tolerance for those who work with dissident media or outlets considered hostile to the regime. The chief editors of the arrested journalists told The Associated Press that the 14 were taken into custody Sunday night and Monday because of their "foreign contacts."
See the full article (AP, 1/28/13)
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22 Nepalese Journalists Flee After Threats
Twenty-two Nepalese journalists have fled after receiving threats from members of the ruling Unified Communist Party of Nepal (UCPN). Their flight halted the publication of three newspapers and stopped two radio stations from broadcasting. The drama began when journalists working in the western district of Dailekh mounted a protest during a visit to the area by the prime minister Baburam Bhattarai.
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 1/28/13)
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'Propaganda' by Gays Faces Russian Curbs Amid Unrest
While Russian lawmakers debated a bill that would outlaw "homosexual propaganda," nationalist and religious demonstrators on Friday attacked gay rights advocates who had gathered outside the lower house of Parliament to protest the legislation. Lawmakers voted 388-1 for the bill, which would make it a federal crime in Russia to distribute "homosexual propaganda." Lawmakers voted 388-1 for the bill, which would make it a federal crime in Russia to distribute "homosexual propaganda."
See the full article (New York Times, David M. Herszenhorn, 1/25/13) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Covering the Syrian Catastrophe
Journalists knew from the start that we were watching an opaque conflict: The restrictions on foreign correspondents made it nearly impossible to cover the conflict from the ground. Almost two years later, these obstacles continue to confound our understanding of events - leaving us to draw conclusions from threads of information, largely ones that opposition activists and a scattered few reporters can provide.
See the full article (Foreign Policy, Lara Sertakian, 1/25/13)
Click to read "Middle East in 2013: Promise and (Lots of) Peril," a USIP Peace Brief by Robin Wright and Garrett Nada.
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2 Outlets Find Prized Sources in Algeria Siege: The Fighters
There were no reporters on hand when Islamist militants emerged from the sands of eastern Algeria last week to storm a gas facility full of international workers, and Algerian security forces cordoned off the site during the hostage crisis that ensued, keeping the news media out. But two little-known news agencies from Nouakchott, the seaside capital of Mauritania, nearly 2,000 miles west across the desert, nonetheless managed to publish regular updates on the attack, citing the attackers themselves.
See the full article (New York Times, Scott Sayare, 1/25/13) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Internet and Social Media

In Thailand, Power Comes With Help From Skype
Millions of people across the globe have cut the tethers to their offices, working remotely from home, airport lounges or just about anywhere they can get an Internet connection. But the political party governing Thailand has taken telecommuting into an altogether different realm. It might be described as rule by Skype. Or governance by instant messenger, a way for Thaksin [Shinawatra] to help run the country without having to face the warrant for his arrest in a case that many believe is politically motivated.
See the full article (New York Times, Thomas Fuller, 1/29/13) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Will the Internet Remain Free?
From seemingly out of nowhere, the Internet has become the greatest global platform for free expression the world has ever seen. But will this last? Last month, an international conference was held that pitted nations seeking greater governmental control over the Internet -- led by Russia and China -- against countries advocating a hands-off approach. These included the United States, Canada, Israel, and nations of Western Europe including Great Britain.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Karl Grossman, 1/29/13)
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Looking Behind the Sightlines of an American Soldier under Taliban Fire
The video would be viewed more than 23 million times, making it perhaps the most-watched footage of the Afghan war. It began last April when Pfc. Ted Daniels pressed the record button on his helmet camera. The device captured what he could see: a rocky Afghan hillside dotted with shrubs and boulders, a small village and no place to hide. It also recorded sound: The pop, pop, pop of gunfire, and then Daniels's voice. The power of Daniels's video lies in its ability to deliver the viewer directly to the battlefield.
See the full article (Washington Post, Greg Jaffe, 1/26/13)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"Peace Journalism" - TEDxLAU
Can media play a role in building peace and transforming conflicts? Is it only attractive when reporting about bad news and bringing sensational scoops? Isn't there any model that could be an alternative to the current journalistic reporting?
See the full video
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