News Roundup Archive

Thursday, October 25, 2012

USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, October 18 - 24, 2012

Media and Journalism

Internet and Social Media

What's New from PeaceMedia

**Click here to subscribe to USIP's Science, Technology and Peacebuilding News Roundup.**

Media and Journalism

Russia Demands Expulsion of Reporters, Envoys over U.N. Leaks
Russia slammed leaks to the media from a closed-door Security Council briefing on Syria on Wednesday, saying diplomats and journalists involved should be stripped of U.N. accreditation for the release of confidential information. Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin was angry that some diplomats conveyed to Reuters that the U.N.-Arab League mediator for the Syrian conflict, Lakhdar Brahimi, told the 15-member council that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had accepted Brahimi's plan for an Eid holiday ceasefire.
See the full article (Reuters, Michelle Nichols and Louis Charbonneau, 10/24/12)
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Call for Action to Protect Journalists
More than 40 global media organisations are demanding urgent action by governments and the United Nations to stop violence against journalists and to end impunity in attacks on the press. They issued a joint statement, which was delivered yesterday to UNESCO following a symposium at the BBC's headquarters in London to discuss the deteriorating safety situation for journalists.
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 10/24/12)
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Search for Common Ground Uses TV Soaps to Promote Peace
Peace building and conflict resolution conjure up images of persuading rival leaders to sit down at a table to talk. They don't often bring to mind producing a TV soap opera. But in 17 countries around the world, soap operas are one of the principle ways the nonprofit Search for Common Ground is breaking down barriers between religious, ethnic, and economic groups and building a basis for ending or averting violence.
See the full article (Christian Science Monitor, Gregory M. Lamb, 10/22/12)
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South Korean Activists Send Leaflets to NKorea
South Korean activists floated balloons carrying tens of thousands of anti-Pyongyang leaflets into North Korea on Monday, eluding police who had disrupted an earlier launch attempt due to threats from North Korea. North Korea's military warned last week that it would strike if the South Korean activists carried through with their plan to fly balloons carrying the propaganda leaflets across the border. South Korea pledged to retaliate if it was attacked.
See the full article (AP, Hyung-Jin Kim, 10/22/12)
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CPJ Calls Turkey 'World's Leading Jailer of Journalists'
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has condemned Turkey for being "the world's leading jailer of journalists." In a report issued on October 22, the New York-based group said 76 journalists were in Turkish jails as of August 1, adding that 61 of them seemed to be there as a direct result of their work. The report says the cases of the remaining 15 journalists are still being investigated by CPJ workers. The report also notes that 70 percent of those journalists were Kurdish.
See the full article (RFE/RL, 10/22/12)
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European Broadcasters Say Syria, Iran Jamming News Delivery
European broadcast officials say Syria and Iran appear to be behind the deliberate signal-jamming that has interrupted news delivered by satellite into parts of the Middle East. The Geneva-based European Broadcasting Union alliance says the jamming that began last week is an attack on the independence of news organizations. It said that the targeted jamming cut off radio and television content by broadcasters including the BBC, France 24, Deutsche Welle and the Voice of America.
See the full article (AP, 10/22/12)
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Syria's Media War: What You Need to Know
Reporting from inside Syria is becoming increasingly difficult for foreign journalists. But all forms of media - particularly Syrian state TV - are strictly controlled to serve the interests of the regime. BBC Monitoring's Mike Linstead explains how social media sites are becoming the new battleground for control of news and information as pro-government and anti-government activists use the internet to get their side of the conflict across.
See the full article (BBC, 10/20/12)
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The Gun and the Press in Pakistan
When news broke from Pakistan that a 14-year-old girl had been shot by members of the Taliban just for promoting female education on her blog, news organisations around the world jumped on the story. In Pakistan, however, they had to treat the subject with care. The Taliban warned local media to curb their reporting, or deal with the consequences. This is not just a story about one attack - it is a tale of how the journalistic environment in Pakistan has grown so dangerous.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, 10/20/12)
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After Attack on Malala, Taliban Threaten Journalists Who Cover It
The Pakistani Taliban sought to silence the teenage education activist Malala Yousufzai by shooting her in the head. They're also trying to stifle the widespread criticism of the attack in the news media by threatening journalists in Pakistan. The militant group's menacing statements have intensified fears among reporters in a country that is already one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist.
See the full article (CNN, Shaan Khan and Jethro Mullen, 10/19/12)
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Missile Crisis Memories
The Cuban Missile Crisis was one of the most politically tense moments of the Kennedy presidency, and one of the most memorable media moments of the Cold War. In an interview which originally aired in 2002, [On the Media] talks about how the media covered the crisis then, and how that coverage led to people drawing the wrong lessons from the crisis.
See the full article (NPR, 10/19/12)
Click to read "Looking Back on the Cuban Missile Crisis, 50 Years Later," a USIP On the Issues by Bruce W. MacDonald.
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Syrian Media Toll Rises Again
The heavy toll on news media covering the conflict in Syria has grown yet again over the past week. Mohammed al-Ashram, a cameraman for the TV station Al-Ikhbariya, was shot and killed on 10 October while covering clashes in the eastern city of Deir Al-Zour. Anhar Kochneva, a Ukrainian [and] fluent Arabic speaker [who] has publicly defended the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in TV interviews disappeared on 9 October after setting out for the city of Homs.
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 10/18/12)
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Coming to Terms With the Legacy of War
Spin the globe, point your finger and stop it cold. Odds are you've landed on a country that has, at one time or another, seen armed conflict or all-out war. As each new conflict unfolds, audiences around the world feed on a steady diet of images depicting violence and suffering. Some of those photographers have been honored with grants from The Aftermath Project, a nonprofit organization committed to the idea that war is only half the story.
See the full article (New York Times, Jesse Newman, 10/18/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "The Missing Peace Symposium" on November 1 at 8:30am.
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War Reporters Train in the Bronx, Complete With Blood, Smoke and Gunfire
When photojournalist Tim Hetherington suffered a mortar shell wound to the groin in Libya in April of last year, he ultimately died of massive blood loss. In response to this, Hetherington's close friend Sebastian Junger founded Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues (RISC). The organization simulates real war-injury scenarios at the Bronx Documentary Center in order to train photographers and journalists in potentially life-saving techniques.
See the full article (Wired, Pete Brook, 10/18/12)
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Internet and Social Media

Afghanistan Telecom Sector Evolves After Decades of Conflict
Mohammad Harun Afzali, a university student in Kabul, Afghanistan, spends time surfing the internet, chatting on Facebook and Skyping with his relatives abroad. He may sound like an average youth in any developing country. But access to these services, which are almost taken for granted in developed nations, hasn't always been easy in this war-torn country. After three decades of bitter conflict and instability, its infrastructure was in ruins. But things have changed dramatically since then.
See the full article (BBC, Ethirajan Anbarasan, 10/23/12)
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Iraqi Officials Venture into World of the Internet
Smiling shyly, Wassan Saleh admitted to being the face of a vast problem across Iraq's bureaucracy that officials are now trying to remedy: she had never used a computer. Her participation in information technology classes is part of efforts by university professors to help modernise Iraq's civil service. The lack of advancement in Iraq in the field of computers comes as a direct result of 30 years of war and sanctions.
See the full article (AFP, Mohamad Ali Harissi, 10/22/12)
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Internet Anti-censorship Tools are Being Overwhelmed by Demand
Activists and nonprofit groups say that their online circumvention tools, funded by the U.S. government, are being overwhelmed by demand and that there is not enough money to expand capacity. The result: online bottlenecks that have made the tools slow and often inaccessible to users in China, Iran and elsewhere, threatening to derail the Internet freedom agenda championed by the Obama administration.
See the full article (Washington Post, James Ball, 10/21/12)
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Twitter Gives Saudi Arabia a Revolution of Its Own
Saudi Arabia did not have an Arab Spring. But it has had a revolution of sorts. Open criticism of this country's royal family, once unheard-of, has become commonplace in recent months. Prominent judges and lawyers issue fierce public broadsides about large-scale government corruption and social neglect. Women deride the clerics who limit their freedoms. Even the king has come under attack. All this dissent is taking place on the same forum: Twitter.
See the full article (New York Times, Robert F. Worth, 10/21/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Syrian Artists Gain Social Media Attention through 'Comic4Syria'
A Facebook page entitled "Comic4Syira", created by a group of young Syrian writers and artists, is gaining attention in the social media networks with 11,000 likes so far. More than 30 albums can be viewed showing Arabic and translated cartoon creations and comic strips of Syrian President Bashar al-Asaad, as well as comic stories with messages of brutality and death, and other true-to life experiences that transpired during the revolution.
See the full article (Al Arabiya, Noelle Manalastas, 10/19/12)
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Twitter Diplomacy: Communicate With Caution
The use of Twitter as a diplomatic tool fits in nicely with the new sense of political empowerment that has accompanied the rise of social media. As Internet connectivity rates continue to grow, Twitter helps foster an unprecedented sense of community among members of the global public. This community expects to participate in -- not be mere bystanders to -- formulation and implementation of policy.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Philip Seib, 10/19/12)
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Iran's Feared Intelligence Ministry Launches Website
One of Iran's most feared and secretive state agencies has softened its tone and pulled back the curtain on some of its activities. The country's Intelligence Ministry has launched a new website with a variety of content apparently aimed at informing, reassuring, and protecting ordinary Iranians. The move appears to be part of a larger effort by the Islamic republic to expand its online presence and confront what it has described as a "soft war" by its enemies.
See the full article (RFE/RL, Golnaz Esfandiari, 10/19/12)
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Tweet Me to Your Leader: How the World's Big Shots Use Social Media
Call it Twiplomacy, Facebook diplomacy, weiplomacy, or simply digital diplomacy, the use of social networks has become an integral part of government communication. The new tools of the "21st Century Statecraft" -- a term coined by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton -- are rapidly replacing fax and telex, and are becoming as important for government leaders, ministers, and diplomats as the telephone, email, and diplomatic cables.
See the full article (Atlantic, Matthias Lüfkens, 10/18/12)
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Twitter Bans Neo-Nazi Account in Germany at Police Request
Twitter said late Wednesday it has blocked a German group's account to users in that country at the request of police - the first time the company has implemented its targeted censorship policy. The censorship policy, announced in January, allows for Twitter to block content in certain countries when asked to do so by local authorities. Twitter also said it would post documentation of these requests a Web site that tracks government takedown requests sent to Web sites.
See the full article (Washington Post, Hayley Tsukayama, 10/18/12)
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Sergei Udaltsov, Russian Dissident, Live Tweets His Detention
Sergei Udaltsov is no stranger to arrest. In December of 2011, the day of Russia's legislative elections, the dissident leader of the country's Left Front movement was detained in Moscow for organizing protests against Vladimir Putin. Yesterday, Udaltsov had another tangle with the State Investigative Agency, Russia's version of the FBI. This time, though, he published a public account of his arrest -- through his Twitter feed.
See the full article (Atlantic, Megan Garber, 10/18/12)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"Global Witness Discusses Conflict Diamonds" - InterMotion Media
Global Witness discusses the issue of conflict diamonds on Heaven & Earth. Global Witness does not agree with the industry's claims that 99% of diamonds are now conflict free.
See the full video
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Click here to subscribe to USIP's Science, Technology and Peacebuilding News Roundup.

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USIP's Science, Technology & Peacebuilding Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Science, Technology and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, October 18 - 24, 2012

Table of Contents

**Click here to subscribe to USIP's Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding News Roundup,
which includes a special section on Internet and social media.**

Drones: A Non-Issue in U.S. Presidential Debate Riles Pakistan
Pakistan's domestic debate over drone attacks gained momentum last year, when relations between the country and the U.S. soured after Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs in Abbottabad. It has become even louder still in recent weeks, after cricketer turned politician Imran Khan staged a widely publicized demonstration against the strikes. It's hard to say exactly how many people in Pakistan support or oppose the use of drones.
See the full article (TIME, Krista Mahr, 10/23/12)
Click to read "Governance Reforms in Pakistan's Tribal Areas: The Long Road to Nowhere?," a USIP Peace Brief by Joshua T. White and Shuja Ali Malik.
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In Cyberattack on Saudi Firm, U.S. Sees Iran Firing Back
The hackers picked the one day of the year they knew they could inflict the most damage on the world's most valuable company, Saudi Aramco. On Aug. 15, more than 55,000 Saudi Aramco employees stayed home from work to prepare for one of Islam's holiest nights of the year - Lailat al Qadr. United States intelligence officials say the attack's real perpetrator was Iran, although they offered no specific evidence to support that claim.
See the full article (New York Times, Nicole Perlroth, 10/23/12) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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The Army Wants to Develop a New Generation of Cyber Weapons
The U.S. Army is conducting a new study to identify the cyber weapons it needs to develop, the service's top cyber officer said today. These weapons could be in the form of traditional electronic warfare tools such as jamming pods strapped to aircraft or they could be advanced software weapons, the three-star general said. Pentagon officials have traditionally been extremely tight-lipped about their offensive abilities in the cyber realm.
See the full article (Foreign Policy, John Reed, 10/23/12)
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France to Send Drones to Mali in Fight Against al-Qaida-backed Insurgents
France is planning to send drones into Mali as part of an international intervention to free the west African country from al-Qaida-backed insurgents who control large swaths of its territory, according to reports. A French defence official said the country was moving surveillance drones to the region as part of secretive plans with the US, amid increasing fears that, if left unchecked, the crisis could serve as a launchpad for terrorist attacks on its own soil.
See the full article (Guardian, Afua Hirsch, 10/22/12)
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How Fear of Cyber Attack Could Take Down Your Liberties and the Constitution (Huffington Post, 10/22/12)
"A cyber attack perpetrated by nation states or violent extremist groups," [Leon Panetta] predicted, "could be as destructive as the terrorist attack of 9/11." Panetta is not the first Obama official to warn that the nation could be facing a cyber catastrophe, but he is the highest-ranking to resort to 9/11 imagery in doing so. Going out on a limb that previous cyber doomsayers had avoided, he mentioned September 11th four times in his speech, referring to our current vulnerabilities in cyber space as "a pre-9/11 moment."
See the full article (Huffington Post, Karen J. Greenberg, 10/22/12)
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Threats and Technology From Iran
Everyone in tech goes to trade shows and conferences, if only to mingle. Iran has them as well, and the country just wrapped up its security trade show. This show drew users who appeared to have serious buying power. You can tell this from their uniform insignias. Local notables attended as well. Among them, Iran's police chief, Brig. Gen. Esmail Ahmadi-Moqadam. He talked about Stuxnet and how the U.S. can expect retaliation.
See the full article (Computerworld, Patrick Thibodeau, 10/19/12)
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Danish Architect Maps Every Plane, Helicopter Shot Down by Syrian Rebels
In July, the embattled regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad unleashed its jet fighters against the growing rebel forces of the Free Syrian Army, marking a major escalation of the bloody civil war. The rebels responded. Now a Danish architect and part-time aviation journalist is mapping each claimed shoot-down of Assad's jets and helicopters, resulting in the first running tabulation of the cost - at least in terms of machinery - of the escalating Syrian air war.
See the full article (Wired, David Axe, 10/19/12)
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After Libya, U.S. Seeks to LoJack Its Diplomats
A recent solicitation revealed that State wants to upgrade its security to a Personnel Tracking and Locating system that could allow diplomats to check in with security personnel through their phones or other handheld devices. The "device agnostic" system would work similarly to the Blue Force Trackers that soldiers use to keep track of one another on the battlefield: a signal emanates from the device over a satellite network and apears as an icon on a digitized map monitored by State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
See the full article (Wired, Spencer Ackerman, 10/19/12)
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CIA Seeks to Expand Drone Fleet, Officials Say
The CIA is urging the White House to approve a significant expansion of the agency's fleet of armed drones, a move that would extend the spy service's decade-long transformation into a paramilitary force, U.S. officials said. The proposal by CIA Director David H. Petraeus would bolster the agency's ability to sustain its campaigns of lethal strikes in Pakistan and Yemen and enable it, if directed, to shift aircraft to emerging al-Qaeda threats in North Africa or other trouble spots.
See the full article (Washington Post, Greg Miller, 10/18/12)
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No Wars for Water
The world economic downturn and upheaval in the Arab world might grab headlines, but another big problem looms: environmental change. Along with extreme weather patterns, rising sea levels, and other natural hazards, global warming disrupts freshwater resource availability -- with immense social and political implications. But don't expect them anytime soon. More likely, tensions over access will merely exacerbate existing regional conflicts.
See the full article (Foreign Affairs, Shlomi Dinar, Lucia De Stefano, James Duncan, Kerstin Stahl, Kenneth M. Strzepek, and Aaron T. Wolf, 10/18/12)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Third Annual Conference: Preventing Violent Conflict" on October 31 at 9:00am.
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Kaspersky Lab Announces a Brand-new OS Focused on Security
The past two years or so have brought a new breed of scary malware to the forefront of public attention, including the infamous Stuxnet worm that was discovered back in 2010. It's long been known that Linux offers numerous security advantages over both Windows and Macs, of course, but security research firm Kaspersky Lab--which played a key role in identifying many of these frightening pieces of malware--apparently has other ideas.
See the full article (PC World, Katherine Noyes, 10/18/12)
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Click here to subscribe to USIP's Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding News Roundup,
which includes a special section on Internet and social media.

Did we miss anything?



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