PeaceTech News Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


PeaceTech Roundup
Weekly News Highlights, April 3 - 9, 2014


Peace Channel

Featured Story:
"Never Again" Isn't Enough

by Jonas Claes

Media and Social Media

Technology and Science

Media and Social Media

Why We Need Women Journalists on the Front Lines
Do we need women in the front lines of journalism? Don't doubt it for a second. We all suffered a terrible loss when an Afghan policeman shot and killed the extraordinarily talented AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus last week. Women journalists remain concentrated in "women's" subjects such as family, style and health. That means we are looking and trying to understand the world mostly through men's eyes when it comes to foreign affairs, justice and politics.
See the full article (CNN, Frida Ghitis, 4/9/14)
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Two Side to Ethiopia - the Plea for Press Freedom
There are two Ethiopias. Or better said there two narratives about Ethiopia. On one side, there is the Ethiopia as celebrated by the international aid community and the European Union. On the other side there is the Ethiopia as criticized by press freedom and human rights groups. A country ruled by an authoritarian regime, the second largest jailer of journalists in Africa, a country which misuses laws on anti-terrorism and civil society regulation to chill speech and prevent journalists from doing their legitimate watchdog work.
See the full article (AllAfrica, Jean-Paul Marthoz, 4/9/14)
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#BBCtrending: #SaveAleppo - Syria's Cry for Help
There's a major social media campaign underway to raise awareness about the desperate situation for many people in Aleppo, Syria- using the hashtag #SaveAleppo. There have been almost 120,000 tweets using the hashtags #SaveAleppo and #Save_Aleppo since the campaign kicked off on Friday. And that's just on Twitter.
See the full article (BBC, 4/9/14)
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Pakistani Media Group's Staff Suffer Third Attack in Three Weeks
A Pakistani media group, Express Media, has just suffered its sixth attack in nine months, and the third within three weeks. A hand grenade was thrown at the home of Jamshed Baghwan, the Express News bureau chief in Peshawar, on Sunday (6 April). It exploded near the gate but no one was injured.
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 4/9/14)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in Pakistan and the South Asia Region" on April, 23, 2014 at 10:00am.
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'Hate Speech Pours Poison Into the Heart'
Well-known Burmese blogger and activist Nay Phone Latt launched the Panzagar (flower speech) campaign last week, which aims to oppose hate speech, a practice of attacking a person or group on the basis of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.
See the full article (Irrawaddy, San Yamin Aung, 4/9/14)
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Afghan Turnout Boosted by Social Media
Activists and experts say that social media campaigns were among the factors behind an unprecedented high turnout in the Afghan elections. An estimated seven million Afghans went to the polls, despite Taliban threats.
See the full article (Deutsche Welle, Masood Saifullah, 4/8/14)
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The Syrian Filmmakers Aiming to Change Your View of the War
Charif Kiwan heads up Abounaddara, a collective of Syrian filmmakers who are hoping to affect change in how the Syrian conflict is portrayed, both by President Bashar al-Assad and the media at large. Abounaddara's members -- all volunteer, all anonymous -- create short films, generally two to five minutes long, in which they give a voice to ordinary citizens. They try to capture the day-to-day lives of Syrians, whether they live inside the country, in a nearby refugee camp, or further abroad in exile.
See the full article (CNN, Daisy Carrington, 4/8/14)
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Pakistani Taliban Launch its Urdu Website
The banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has launched its Urdu website hosting videos, a magazine, and interviews and statements of its top leaders. Interestingly, the website has also given links to certain YouTube videos but those don't work as the popular video sharing website is banned by the government.
See the full article (Times of India, 4/6/14)
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Cuba's State Media Denounce 'Secret Twitter' as Proof of US Cyber-War
Revelations of a secret US government programme to set up a cellphone-based social network in Cuba are being trumpeted in the island's official media as proof of Havana's repeated allegations that Washington is waging a "cyber-war" to try to stir up unrest. "ZunZuneo joins an extensive list of secret anti-Cuban operations" including the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961 and plots to assassinate Fidel Castro, state news agency Prensa Latina said.
See the full article (Guardian, 4/4/14)
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Journalist Shot Dead, Another Injured in Afghanistan
A police officer shot two foreign journalists in eastern Afghanistan on Friday, killing one and wounding the other. Award-winning Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed while getting into a vehicle with reporter Kathy Gannon at a district government compound in remote Khost province, provincial spokesman Baryalai Rawan told NBC News.
See the full article (Forbes, Jason Stverak, 4/4/2014)
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Media Shield Law Should Focus On Protecting, Not Defining, Journalists
The media has long been clamoring for a federal shield law to protect journalists from prosecution and government abuse, and now Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) claims that the Senate has the votes to pass the Free Flow of Information Act (FFIA). The bill would codify protections for journalists, but it's all bark and no bite: by using restrictive parameters to define who is and isn't a protected journalist, it would only erect artificial and unnecessary barriers within the reporting community.
See the full article (Forbes, Greg Satell, 1/18/14)
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Featured Story from the USIP Foreign Policy Peace Channel

"Never Again" Isn't Enough by Jonas Claes
The 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide offers an opportune moment to reflect on the horrific events of 1994, and honor the countless victims and survivors who still carry the collective trauma of mass murder. Remembering these deliberate efforts to extinguish an entire ethnic community should not only give us pause, but also encourage our atrocity prevention community, including humanitarian and peace organizations around the world, to rethink how such failures of humanity can guide us forward, beyond "Never Again" slogans.
See the full article

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Technology and Science

A Global Campaign to Monitor the "Digital Weapons" Trade
It might seem that there is little connection between Milan and the atrocities occurring in Syria under the regime of President Bashar al-Assad but we now know that a little known Italian tech company called Area SpA was providing Assad with technology that could virtually allow him to seize and search any e-mail that passed through the country. This problem, which some activists have called the "digital arms trade" is at the heart of a new global campaign launched on April 4 by an international group of leading NGOs. They banded together to create the Coalition Against Unlawful Surveillance Exports (CAUSE), calling for governments to take action on the international trade in communication surveillance technologies.
See the full article (TechPresident, Carola Frediani, 4/8/14)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Consolidating Democratic Gains or Cementing Sectarian Divides: Prospects for Iraq's April 30 Elections" on April, 16, 2014 at 1:30pm.
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The Crowd Is Dead, Long Live the Crowd
Much has been said about the crowd as a means of empowering people through technology. It harnesses the global reach of the Internet to make it possible for a large group of individuals to give a little each to create something great together. There have been numerous examples of collective wisdom, or in most cases collective funds, catapulting brilliant ideas to success. Crowd-funding and crowd-sourcing are definitely here to stay.
See the full article (Wired, Bartholomeo Guarienti, 4/8/14)
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U.S. Won't Share Invasion Intel With Ukraine
U.S. intelligence agencies now have detailed information that Russia has amassed the kind of forces needed for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. But the Obama administration hasn't shared with Ukraine the imagery, intercepts, and analysis that pinpont the location of the Russian troops ready to seize more Ukrainian land, The Daily Beast has learned. it would be particularly useful to the fledgling government in Ukraine that lacks the satellites, sensors and intercept technology to learn the details of the military force that looks like it is about to invade its territory.
See the full article (Daily Beast, Eli Lake, 4/8/14)
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West Point to House Cyber Warfare Research Institute
The Army's academy has established a cyber warfare research institute to groom elite cyber troops and solve thorny problems for the Army and the nation in this new war-fighting domain. The U.S. Army Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., plans to build a cyber brain trust unprecedented within the service academies, filling 75 positions over the next three years - including scholars in technology, psychology, history and law, among other fields.
See the full article (USA Today, Joe Gould, 4/8/14)
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How Technology Failed to Fix Kenya's Election
This December 2013 report from the U.S. Agency for International Development describes more than a dozen interferences that foiled the international community's attempts to use technology to improve outcomes in Kenya's March 2013 elections. The technological interventions aimed at securing that peaceful outcome were largely a mess, however, as outlined by the report titled USAID Support for Kenya's 2013 Elections: Rapid Assessment Review.
See the full article (NextGov, Joseph Marks, 4/7/14)
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After Genocide, Rwanda Looks to Tech
The Rwandan genocide still shadows Immaculee Mukamusoni's life. Ethnic Hutu militias killed her mother, father and siblings, and for the next two decades, she had little support. Today, she and her husband work as day laborers on a farm to provide for their five children. But this past week, she boarded a bus that she hopes will transform her world. Outfitted with 20 laptops, it is a central part of a government initiative to bring technology to impoverished rural areas.
See the full article (Washington Post, Sudarsan Raghavan, 4/4/14)
Click to read "Peace Education in Sudan? Not as Unlikely as it Might Sound" an Olive Branch Post by Linda Bishai.
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Making a Difference in Hell
Neema Namadamu founded the Maman Shujaa--the "Hero Women of the Congo." Started by ten women in an Internet cafe, Namadamu earned international recognition. "I care about technology," she explains. "I connect women around the world." She does that by partnering with World Pulse, and providing accounts of what its like to live in a place where gender equality practically does not exist. Namadamu posted a petition on that asked President Obama to help integrate Congo's government with the African Union. It has already garnered more than 100,000 signatures.
See the full article (Daily Beast, Erin Cunningham, 4/4/14)
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