News Roundup Archive

Thursday, June 14, 2012

USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, June 7 - 13, 2012

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

Media and Journalism

Violence Tests Myanmar's Media, and its Censors
When Myanmar emerged last year from army rule, state censors started to loosen their powerful grip, allowing newspapers to report freely on what had been unthinkable, from the views of opposition politicians to allegations of government corruption. But as sectarian violence rages between majority Buddhists and Muslim Rohingyas in western Rakhine state, the old ways are returning. Censorship is creeping back, raising questions about whether the pre-screening of copy will be dropped.
See the full article (Reuters, 6/14/12)
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Amid Iraq Violence, Journalists Struggle about Government Control
Iraqi journalists, in particular, are still struggling to report freely and safely about their nation, something that was brought home when Marwan Ibrahim, a longtime reporter for Agence France-Presse, was seriously injured in a roadside bomb attack in the northern city of Kirkuk this morning. Death threats, targeted killings and bombed offices may no longer be as much a daily fact of life as they once were. But Iraqi journalists say that pressure and risks persist in other ways, under the increasingly authoritarian government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
See the full article (Christian Science Monitor, Scott Peterson, 6/13/12)
Click to read "Salam Shabab Demonstrating the Value of Diversity Among Iraqi Youth," a USIP News Feature.
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Sudanese Journalists Stymied by "Red Lines" and Raids
Reporters in Sudan have long known that criticizing the president or writing about official corruption could bring a beating, or jail. Official censorship ensured journalists knew exactly where the lines were. But censorship was abolished in 2009, and the secession of South Sudan a year ago and recent border fighting with the new nation has worsened the situation for press freedom. Punishment for crossing the line is increasingly financial - withdrawal of advertising or blocking the distribution of newspapers.
See the full article (Reuters, Ulf Laessing, 6/13/12)
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Afghan Photographers Shoot to Glory
[Massoud] Hossaini is one of a handful of young, talented Afghan photographers who, despite scarce funding, have gained international prominence with the encouragement of exceptional mentors. These photographers are now showing their embattled country to the world - unhindered by cultural and language barriers - through an Afghan lens. Hossaini won a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography in 2012.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, Rebecca Murray, 6/12/12)
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The Rise of Citizen Journalism
From live blogs on 'Occupy' protests to footage of Syrian atrocities on YouTube, filmmakers now have access to a wealth of raw material - but can it all be trusted? [The] documentary Syria's Torture Machine for Channel 4, drew on about 30,000 clips that have been uploaded on various social network sites, including "trophy videos" from Syrian military torturers and footage from local families and citizens caught up in demonstrations.
See the full article (Guardian, Kate Bulkley, 6/10/12)
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In a Troubled corner, Afghans Jam the Airwaves
It has just one phone line and broadcasts from a plywood hut safe within a U.S. base, but Nari Radio is proving an unlikely hit in one of Afghanistan's most troubled regions, with a talk-back caller base that counts even the Taliban. With its mix of music and unvetted politics in a poverty-stricken area where radio still counts as new media, Nari has been an unexpected success for U.S. troops trying to counter an insurgency that remains strong, just months from a handover of security to Afghan forces.
See the full article (Reuters, Rob Taylor, 6/10/12)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Pakistani Media: Getting Beyond the Hype" on June 19 at 2:30pm.
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Syria's Assads Turned to West for Glossy P.R.
For some journalists, Syria has been one of the least hospitable countries in the Middle East, a place where reporters - if they can get in - are routinely harassed and threatened as they try to uncover the repression that has propped up the Assad government for decades. For other journalists, Syria has until recently been a country led by the cultivated, English-speaking President Bashar al-Assad who was helping usher in a new era of openness and prosperity.
See the full article (New York Times, Bill Carter and Amy Chozick, 6/10/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Aid Agencies Limit Their Impact by Refusing to Fund the Media
After living through 14 years of civil war where leaders used propaganda to convince thousands of Liberians to take up arms against their own people - often their own families - Liberians have a better appreciation of the power of truth than most. Aid agencies should support media in their jobs; include smart media strategies as part of their work; fund good journalism; not take journalists out of positions where they are making a difference; and start a national conversation that will open eyes and change destructive attitudes.
See the full article (Guardian, Prue Clarke, 6/7/12)
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Internet and Social Media

Ruling Facebookistan
Last year, when [Palestinian activist Ramzi] Jaber organized a TED-like conference in Ramallah, travel restrictions forced activists to set up satellite events in Bethlehem, Beirut, and Amman, mediating the conversation between the three locations largely through social media. Jaber, a social entrepreneur in residence at Stanford, created new website,, through which users of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Google Plus can report on incidents of deletion and deactivation.
See the full article (Foreign Policy, Rebecca Mackinnon, 6/14/12)
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Facebook Meets Brick-and-Mortar Politics
No doubt Facebook helped a certain educated class of Egyptians to spread the word about the Tahrir Revolution. Ditto Twitter. But, at the end of the day, politics always comes down to two very old things: leadership and the ability to get stuff done. And when it came to those, both the Egyptian Army and the Muslim Brotherhood, two old "brick and mortar" movements, were much more adept than the Facebook generation of secular progressives and moderate Islamists.
See the full article (New York Times, Thomas L. Friedman, 6/9/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Court Denies Dismissal of WikiLeaks Charges
A military judge refused on Friday to dismiss any of the 22 counts against an Army private charged in the biggest leak of government secrets in U.S. history. On Friday, the third day of a pretrial hearing, [Col. Denise Lind] rejected a defense argument that the government used unconstitutionally vague language in charging Manning with eight counts of unauthorized possession and disclosure of classified information.
See the full article (USA Today, 6/9/12)
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Business as Usual
The Iranian online model is a challenge to internet users in the country, as it is to all those who fear for the shape of the countries in the region in the future. This is because of the importance of the internet and social networks in creating information, passing it along, receiving it and creating direct communication between citizens of different countries, just like the recent Israeli Faceook initiative to bring people from Israel and from Iran together.
See the full article (Guardian, Tal Pavel, 6/8/12)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Change and Continuity in the Islamic Republic of Iran" on June 27 at 9:30am.
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Surfing the Web on an iPhone in Iran
The strength of cellular devices is not found only in their ability to make direct vocal contact between individuals, but also mainly in centralized societies which are characteristic of the Middle East. Their truly important role has been proven many times over the past years, when they served as the device through which one can document events in real-time where they are happening and forward the photographed or filmed information directly throughout the world by uploading it onto the internet.
See the full article (Guardian, Tal Pavel, 6/8/12)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"Reconciliation - How It Happens" - PeaceTalks
Peace Talks hosts a conversation on preventing communal violence. Participants include ex IAS officer, activist and author Harsh Mander; anthropologist and human rights researcher Shiv Visvanathan; and actress and activist Nandita Das.
See the full video
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Did we miss anything?



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