USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup


United States Institute of Peace



Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, October 17 - 23, 2013

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

Renewed Fatwa Calling for "Actions" Against Journalists
Reporters Without Borders condemns a year-old fatwa naming certain Pakistan media and journalists as "enemies of the mujahideen" that was re-issued on 19 October in the form of a post on Twitter. "We condemn this explicit and targeted threat to journalists, which greatly increases the dangers to which they are already exposed," Reporters Without Borders said. "We urge the authorities to reinforce protection for the media and journalists named in the fatwa and to ensure that those responsible for this threat are no longer able to do any harm."
See the full article (Thomson Reuters, 10/23/13)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Domestic Barriers to Dismantling the Militant Infrastructure in Pakistan," on November 4, 2013 at 1:30 pm.
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Astana Probes Video Allegedly Showing Kazakh 'Jihad' Family in Syria
A toddler in a plaid shirt launches into a tantrum as a slightly older girl refuses him a sip from her juice box. The scene of youthful innocence could fit into the highlight reel of any family vacation -- if not for the gun-wielding man standing in the background. The government of Kazakhstan says it is aware of a video posted to YouTube earlier this month that purports to show a Kazakh "family" of 150 people preparing for jihad in Syria.
See the full article (RFE/RL, 10/21/13)
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Rami Abdurrahman Feeds Western Media On Syria From England
He's practically a one man band, but Rami Abdurrahman's influence extends far beyond his modest home in this small English city. The bald, bespectacled 42-year-old operates the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights from his house in the cathedral city of Coventry — and a review of recent media coverage suggests its running tally of killings and clashes is the most frequently cited individual source of information on Syria's civil war for the world's leading news organizations.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Raphael Satter, 10/20/13)
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A Crackdown in Venezuela: News That’s Fit to Print
Everywhere he looks nowadays, Nicolás Maduro sees conspiracies. Media conspiracies have been a staple of government propaganda since 2002, when Mr Maduro’s predecessor and mentor, Hugo Chávez, was briefly ousted after mass demonstrations cheered on by Venezuela’s four main television channels. That led the government to adopt a two-pronged strategy explicitly aimed at achieving “media hegemony”.
See the full article (Economist, 10/19/13)
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Pakistan Journalist Shot Dead for Investigating Drug Dealers
Pakistani newspaper reporter Ayub Khattak was shot dead last week (11 October) because of his investigations into drug-dealing. Khattak, a journalist with the Karak Times, was approached outside his home in Karak, in the north-west province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, by two men on a motorcycle who asked him why he was investigating their drug dealing activities. A colleague, Haleem Bukhari, told the Paris-based press freedom watchdog, Reporters Without Borders, that Khattak had filed a story on the sale of drugs and drug-sellers
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 10/17/13)
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Internet and Social Media

Khomeini's Granddaughter Quits Facebook Over War Joke
Heard the one about the ayatollah who wanted to marry war widows? It's the type of joke that doesn't get many laughs in Iran, even if told by the grandest ayatollah of them all -- Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic republic. So when a one-liner attributed to the late Khomeini appeared on his granddaughter's Facebook page, controversy ensued. Khomeini's granddaughter, Naeimeh Eshraghi, denies posting the joke, which recently appeared on the comments section of her Facebook page, under her ID.
See the full article (RFE/RL, Golnaz Esfandiari, 10/23/13)
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Google's New Map of Global Cyber-Attacks Is Nifty, But Is It Also Self-Serving?
As part of a summit on cyber-conflict today, Google and Arbor Networks released a map (see above) that visualizes major cyber attacks around the world as they happen. Specifically, the map tracks distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS for short), in which a large number of machines work together to overload or otherwise foul up a given Web server. The goal is generally to take a website or Web service offline, or slow it down to the point of unusability.
See the full article (Slate, Will Oremus, 10/21/13)
Click to read about USIP’s upcoming event “Iraq’s Transition: Remarks by Iraqi Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Noori al-Maliki,” on October 31, 2013 at 10:00am.
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Facebook Lets Beheading Clips Return to Social Network
Facebook is allowing videos showing people being decapitated to be posted and shared on its site once again. The social network had introduced a temporary ban in May following complaints that the clips could cause long-term psychological damage. The US firm confirmed it now believed its users should be free to watch and condemn such videos.
See the full article (BBC, Leo Kelion, 10/21/13)
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Google Unveils Tools to Access Web From Repressive Countries
Google Ideas, the New York City–based “think/do tank” run by the Internet search giant, is launching several new technologies designed to highlight hacker attacks around the world and help people in repressive regimes access the Internet. The new products, which are being announced on Monday at the Google Ideas Summit in New York City, represent the most substantial offerings delivered by the three-year-old Google policy unit and could be a major boon to activists and reformers in the world’s most closed and repressive societies.
See the full article (Time, Sam Gustin, 10/21/13)
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Syria's Civil War Plays Out On Social Media
Amid all the bloodshed, confusion and deadlock of Syria's civil war, one fact is emerging after 2½ years — no conflict ever has been covered this way. Amateur videographers — anyone with a smartphone, Internet access and an eagerness to get a message out to the world — have driven the world's outlook on the war through YouTube, Twitter and other social media.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Zeina Karam, 10/19/13)
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Union flag Protesters Sue Facebook Over Online Threats
Two union flag protesters, who allegedly fled their homes after being threatened online, are suing Facebook. One of them was threatened with being shot and also allegedly told in the street he would be kicked to death, the High Court heard on Friday. His legal team claim this verbal warning can be linked to the social media network because reference was made to the name he used on the site.
See the full article (BBC, 10/18/13)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda" - UN Women
In early September 2012, UN Women co-hosted a symposium on using international prosecutions to strengthen gender justice with Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice.
See the full video
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