USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup


United States Institute of Peace



Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, November 7 - 13, 2013

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

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Media and Journalism

After 1,000 Days In Captivity, Opposition Figure Dreams Of 'Newspaper Tree'
Iranian opposition leaders Mir Hossein Musavi, his wife Zahra Rahnavard, and reformist cleric Mehdi Karrubi have been under house arrest for more than 1,000 days. To mark the unhappy occasion, Karrubi's wife, Fatemeh Karrubi, has turned to YouTube to express her concern over her 75-year-old husband's health. In a video released on November 12 and addressed to the Iranian people, Karrubi tells viewers that Iranian authorities have held her husband without bringing any official indictment against him.
See the full article (RFE/RL, Golnaz Esfandiari, 11/13/13)
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Kenya Laws Threaten Press Freedom
Two news laws in Kenya - one already passed by parliament and another about to be debated - would severely undermine fundamental rights and freedoms. The Information and Communications Amendment Bill would create a government-appointed communications and multimedia appeals tribunal with broad powers to revoke journalists’ accreditation, seize property and impose hefty fines on journalists and even greater fines on media companies. The Media Council Bill, which is due to be debated soon in parliament, would empower the government to ban any media content that it deems “prejudicial to public or national interest” and impose penalties against the offending organisation.
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 11/12/13)
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Voices and Faces Inside Iran
While most people are familiar with the political tension between Iran and the United States, the world knows very little about the daily lives of Iranian children and adults. However, we are given a unique glimpse into the lives of Iranians and their culture through the lens of ABC World News Journalist Muhammad Lila. He was on the streets of Iran capturing the culture and talking with Iranians and his photographs and observations are part of an interactive blog.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Kristin Meekhof, 11/11/13)
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North Korea 'Publicly Executed 80 People,' South Korean Paper Reports
North Korea publicly executed around 80 people earlier this month, many for watching smuggled South Korean TV shows, a South Korean newspaper reported Monday. The conservative JoongAng Ilbo cited a single, unidentified source, but at least one North Korean defector group said it had heard rumours that lent credibility to the front-page report.
See the full article (AFP, 11/11/13)
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Danger Persists for Reporters in Pakistan, Despite Vow to Protect Them
The killers were waiting for Ayub Khattak, a small-town reporter in northwestern Pakistani, as he returned to his house one evening in October. They gunned him down just outside his door. Mr. Khattak, who worked for a small local paper and Jang, Pakistan’s biggest news daily, died instantly. In Pakistan, one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists, the death of a reporter sometimes barely makes the news. And despite promises by a new government in recent months that protecting journalists is vital, the problem has continued, and even intensified.
See the full article (New York Times, Salam Masood, 11/10/13) *NYT subscription may be required to read full article
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Egypt's Media: Marching in Step?
Since the military coup in July, Egypt's media has been in lock step with the march of Egypt's military masters. Morsi was labelled "hysterical" by the press - both state-owned and private - for asserting that he, as Egypt's legitimate president, could not be tried by the court. His refusal to wear a prison gown even invited unfavourable comparisons with his predecessor Hosni Mubarak who had assented to the all-white garment. It seems not all deposed presidents are equal in the eyes of Egyptian journalists.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, 11/9/13)
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Internet and Social Media

Israeli Online Peace Institute Recruits Students Across the Arab World
Hundreds of students from Israel and across the Arab world will soon be headed to school together. YaLa-Young Leaders, which calls itself the largest online peace movement, says it’s recruiting 1,500 students from the region for its first online Israeli-Arab Peace Institute. The group says the yearlong course will include online lectures by former peace negotiators from Israel, the Palestinian territories, Northern Ireland, Rwanda and South Africa. Founder Uri Savir, himself a former Israeli negotiator, says the students are being selected from the 420,000 people who have joined YaLa’s Facebook page.
See the full article (AP, 11/13/13)
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Petition to Free Vietnamese Blogger Jailed for 12 Years
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has launched a petition calling on Vietnam's political leaders to release blogger Nguyen Van Hai, who is serving a 12-year prison sentence. Hai, who has been in jail since 2008, was convicted under a law prohibiting the "conducting of propaganda" against the state. His blog, Dieu Cay (peasant's pipe), which also serves as his pen name, touched on politically sensitive issues, including government corruption and protests against China, which disputes Vietnam's claim to nearby maritime territories.
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 11/13/13)
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Do You Trust Your Computer?
Twenty years ago, electronic communications were mostly done by institutions and a few computer aficionados. Today, hundreds of millions use mobile telephony, computer apps and social media every day, whether for banking or for sharing intimate details of one's life. The vast majority of users never stop to think about who owns those networks. In every country, the data is processed by a large corporate entity with direct ties to the government. Just as computers have become ever more powerful in sensing and processing, people have signed up in droves to provide an avalanche of personal data through networks they scarcely understand.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, Eric Garland, 11/13/13)
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Private Donors’ Funds Add Wild Card to War in Syria
The money flows in via bank transfer or is delivered in bags or pockets bulging with cash. Working from his sparely furnished sitting room here, Ghanim al-Mteiri gathers the funds and transports them to Syria for the rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad. Mr. Mteiri — one of dozens of Kuwaitis who openly raise money to arm the opposition — has helped turn this tiny, oil-rich Persian Gulf state into a virtual Western Union outlet for Syria’s rebels, with the bulk of the funds he collects going to a Syrian affiliate of Al Qaeda.
See the full article (New York Times, Ben Hubbard, 11/12/13) *NYT subscription may be required to read full article
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How Iran Uses Wikipedia To Censor The Internet
A new study from the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School claims that Wikipedia might hold the key to understanding how Iran censors, and controls, the internet. The answer, in four words: with a heavy hand. Reports of internet censorship in Iran have been a constant in the international media, but until now little was known about the specific systems and methods the country uses to restrict the flow of information online.
See the full article (BuzzFeed, Charlie Warzel, 11/12/13)
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Syrian Activists Mock Geneva 2 Talks Online
During Syria’s lengthy civil war, opposition activists have made social media a crucial front in a furious propaganda battle, posting web pages and online videos touting their cause. Now, with the bloody conflict in its third year and no end in sight, many Syrians are heading online to vent their frustrations with the so-called Geneva 2 peace process, mired in seemingly perpetual postponement mode as opposition elements bicker about whether to attend.
See the full article (Los Angeles Times, Nabih Bulos, 11/12/13)
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Latin Americans Combat Crime with Smartphones and Social Media
In Latin America, where violent crime rates are six times higher than in any other region, and where most residents have reported distrust in the state's ability to fight crime, several communities have taken to social media to boost security, say analysts. In parallel, internet access in Latin America has multiplied thirteenfold in the past decade, providing communities with an alternative way to report crimes in near anonymity, share information on violent hotspots, mobilise community policing and organise protests calling for greater security.
See the full article (Guardian, Dana MacLean, 11/10/13)
Click to read "Colombia Peace Talks Produce 'Historic' Step Toward Final Accord" an Olive Branch Post by Virginia M. Bouvier.
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A Digital Escape from North Korea's Secret State: Kim Jong-un Faces Threat from Undercover Films Posted on the Web
A network of ordinary North Koreans have been filming secretly inside the country and smuggling the footage out across the border with China. The footage gives a rare insight into the most isolated nation on earth, revealing the reality of everyday life in North Korea and showing the first signs of cracks in the regime’s control. The network is run by Japanese journalist, Jiro Ishimaru, who has been training undercover reporters for 15 years.
See the full article (Independent, James Jones, 11/10/13)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"David Jensen : Natural Resources and Peacebuilding: Is the United Nations United?" - TEDx
The presentation focuses on the need to address natural resource degradation, governance and benefit-sharing as fundamental components of peacebuilding in Afghanistan and other post-conflict countries.
See the full video
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