USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, June 20 - 26, 2013

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

New French-backed Syrian Radio Promises Independent Voice
Syrian journalists backed by France launched a Paris-based radio station on Wednesday that will broadcast deep into Syria, aiming to provide what they said would be independent coverage of the civil war. Apart from their military conflict, the Syrian government and rebels are waging a propaganda war using television, radio and the Internet.
See the full article (Reuters, John Irish, 6/26/13)
Click to read "Syria Negotiations: Surprising Hope After G-8 Summit?" an Olive Branch Post by Steven Heydemann.
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BBC's North Korea Broadcast Plan Hampered by Budget Cuts
The BBC's aim to broadcast in North Korea for the first time has been curbed by government cuts to its budget, the corporation's director of global news has said. Peter Horrocks said airing programmes in the secretive state is still on his "wish list" but is unlikely to happen in the next year, following the £2.2m annual budget cut announced by William Hague earlier this month.
See the full article (Guardian, Josh Halliday, 6/25/13)
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Iraq Frees Journalists Held over Minister's Notepad
Two Iraqi journalists arrested for allegedly stealing a notepad belonging to the country's defence minister were freed on Thursday in a case that sparked criticism from press freedom activists. Mohammed Fuad and Afdhal Jumaa were arrested on June 4 and accused of having stolen Saadun al-Dulaimi's notepad after a June 1 meeting of political leaders.
See the full article (AFP, 6/20/13)
Click to read "Iraq: What’s Next After Anbar and Nineveh Elections?" an Olive Branch Post by Manal Omar and Sarhang Hamasaeed.
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Internet and Social Media

Thanks, But No: Social Media Refuses To Share With Turkey
Turkey's battle with the Internet took a new twist on Wednesday. Twitter has refused to cooperate with the government, but that Facebook had responded "positively" and was "in cooperation with the state." The story took an additional turn later in the day, when Facebook issued a statement with the government. Turkey has stepped back from earlier calls to ban social media, which Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called "a menace."
See the full article (NPR, Peter Kenyon, 6/26/13)
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Debate Over Role of the Internet in Developing Burma
Many still imagine Burma as a place where activists and writers meet covertly in doughnut shops, trailed by secret police, and where bloggers and monks alike are thrown into prison for dissent. But Burma is changing at a dizzying rate, as the government tries to slough off its former censorship regime and take tentative, delicate steps to build a more open and inclusive economy.
See the full article (TechPresident, Faine Greenwood, 6/26/13)
Click to read "India, China, Burma: Challenges to the U.S. “Pivot” Toward Asia" an Olive Branch Post by Namrata Goswami.
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Iran Admits Throttling Internet To 'Preserve Calm' During Election
In an unusual move, Iran's minister for communications and information technology, Mohammad Hassan Nami, has acknowledged that the country restricted the speed of the Internet in the days leading up to the June 14 presidential election. "The reduction of the Internet speed, which some called 'disturbances', was the result of security measures taken to preserve calm in the country during the election period," Nami was quoted as saying.
See the full article (RFE/RL, Golnaz Esfandiari, 6/26/13)
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Five Years of Social Media Evolution at Al Jazeera
In an interview with, [Riyaad Minty, who is now head of social media at Al Jazeera] said before 2009 the new media team was often the butt of jokes.The turning point came when he went into the newsroom early in 2009 to find the New York Times had published an article on how Al Jazeera was crowdsourcing the war in Gaza.
See the full article (, Sarah Marshall, 6/26/13)
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China Is Unblocking Some Search Terms — But Censorship Still Thrives Online
Censorship on Sina Weibo has gotten much more complicated in recent months. The implementation of more targeted, subtler censorship -- including the sanitization of keyword search results to remove unwanted content -- makes the suppression of information more invisible, and harder to fight.
See the full article (Atlantic, Jason Q. Ng, 6/24/13)
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The Pertinence and Perils of Twiplomacy
In the midst of the recent upheaval in Turkey, Prime Minister Erdogan has called Twitter the worst ‘menace’ to society. While diplomats have stepped out of the halls of power and into the real world long ago, they now have to step into the virtual world ‘where the wild things are’ as well, if they want to be an effective force of good for their country.
See the full article (Independent, Tony Agotha, 6/21/13)
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Turkey Announces Plan to Restrict ‘Fake’ Social Media Accounts
Turkey will prevent the opening of “fake” social media accounts as part of its efforts to criminalize the incitement of protests, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said today. Hundreds of thousands of fake accounts have been opened since protests erupted on May 31, disseminating lies and slander and using social media like a “weapon” to incite hatred, Bozdag told reporters in Ankara today.
See the full article (Bloomberg, Selcan Hacaoglu, 6/20/13)
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Mobile Phone Usage in Africa may Actually Worsen Violent Conflicts: Report
Mobile phone usage has exploded in Africa over the last few years, spurring economic growth and human development even where traditional Internet access is limited. But a new study points to a surprising side effect of cell phone proliferation: It actually increases violent conflicts across the continent.
See the full article (International Business Times, Jacey Fortin, 6/20/13)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

Stella Sabiiti - Listen to the Things They Aren't Saying
As a mediator between armed groups in Africa, Stella Sabiiti has worked with individuals in some of the world's most tense situations. Here, in this interview from January 2011, Ms. Sabiiti imparts some of her wisdom on how to help others diagnose their conflicts and find a way forward.
See the full video
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