News Roundup Archive

Thursday, January 17, 2013

USIP's Media, Conflict & Peacebuilding Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, January 10 - 16, 2013

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

Nigerian Newspaper Editor Shot Dead
Nigerian editor Ikechukwu Udendu was shot dead on Saturday, becoming the seventh journalist in the world this year to be killed. In condemning the murder and calling for a thorough investigation, Gabriel Baglo, Africa director of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), said: "Nigeria has become a country of impunity for those who have attacked and killed journalists. This is a real press freedom regress."
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 1/16/13)
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Somali Journalist Arrested After Interviewing Rape Victim
A Somali journalist has been under arrest for almost a week because he interviewed a woman who claimed she had been raped by members of the Somali army. Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim, a freelance who often works for radio stations, was arrested by police last Thursday after interviewing the woman. The arrests appear to be linked to an Al-Jazeera article. The CID has also questioned several other Somali journalists, including Al-Jazeera's Arabic correspondent, Omar Faruk, and radio journalist Abdiaziz Mohamed Dirie.
See the full article (Guardian, Roy Greenslade, 1/16/13)
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Frederica Jansz: Sri Lanka's Media Crackdown
For this Listening Post feature, we interview one journalist who has recently fled her country, Sri Lanka. Over the past few years freedom of the press has been under attack by the government there. One newspaper in particular has been in the governmental crosshairs, the Sunday Leader. "It was definitely a slow and steady slide into a stifling reporting that the government does not like. Since the end of the war in May 2009, there has been a very definite slide, a very definite take over, or state control, of all media outlets."
See the full article (Al Jazeera, 1/15/13)
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Israel Confronts Its "Image Problem"
Israel is one of the most divisive subjects in international politics and media. At next month's Oscar ceremony, that "image problem" will be on prominent display as two local films centered around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and highly critical of Israel are up for nominations in the best documentary category. The films constitute candid, tragic confessions of what reality is like on the ground, snapshots of the recent history of Israel/Palestine.
See the full article (Salon, Mairav Zonszein, 1/15/13)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "America's Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace" on January 28 at 11:00am.
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Censorship Row Reveals Tolerant Side of China's New Leadership
China's traditional iron-handed approach to the media has taken a surprise turn of tolerance with Beijing's soft handling of a recent dispute with local reporters, in what could well become a more open attitude toward the media under the incoming administration of presumed new President Xi Jinping. The new openness is being driven in large part by pragmatism, as the government realizes that both traditional and newer media can serve as powerful tools for achieving many of its goals in the country's modernization.
See the full article (CNN, Doug Young, 1/14/13)
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Starring in Drama in Iran: TV Itself
One of Iran's most popular satellite channels, GEM TV, operating from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and broadcasting illegally into the country, was taken offline without explanation. Its Web site was also down, adding to the mystery. The authorities here have fought what they call a "cultural invasion" from the West, starting with the introduction of videotaped Hollywood movies in the 1980s and, more recently, the Internet and dozens of satellite channels based abroad, broadcasting in Persian.
See the full article (New York Times, Thomas Erdbrink, 1/14/13) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Egypt's Climate of Intimidation
Mr. Morsi and his Freedom and Justice party, backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, insist that they are committed to the democratic system. After only a few months in office, however, there are disturbing signs that they may not stick to those promises. Foremost among them is the increasing pressure being brought to bear on critical journalists. In recent months at least half a dozen prominent [Egyptian] editors, writers and cartoonists have been the targets of criminal investigations, many of them launched by a prosecutor appointed by Mr. Morsi following complaints from the president's office.
See the full article (Washington Post, 1/13/13)
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Mubarak Is Asked About Media Gifts
Prosecutors questioned former President Hosni Mubarak on Saturday about $1 million worth of personal gifts he received from a state news organization over his last six years in office, the organization's Web site reported. Mr. Mubarak was questioned about gifts, including gold pens, designer neckties, leather bags, shoes, gold jewelry and expensive watches that Al Ahram, which operates several newspapers and other media outlets, gave him from 2006 to 2011 as demonstrations of loyalty.
See the full article (New York Times, 1/12/13) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Al Jazeera and the Qatari Government's Editorial Influence
In December, Al Jazeera Berlin correspondent Aktham Suliman left the news outlet, saying he felt its primary funder, the Qatari government, exerted too much influence over Al Jazeera's coverage. Suliman is just the latest in a string of resignations from Al Jazeera in protest of editorial interference. In an interview from August of last year, [On the Media] talks to blogger and political commentator Sultan Al Qassemi about what he sees as the problems with Al Jazeera's coverage of ongoing fighting in Syria.
See the full article (NPR, 1/11/13)
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Film to Present Iran's View of 'Argo' Events
News reports from Tehran say the Iranian government is planning to finance a movie that will correct what it says are numerous distortions of the historical record in "Argo." Not much is known about the proposed movie, but it is a sure bet that it will center on the official Iranian view of the 1979 hostage crisis, in which 52 American diplomats were held by Islamic students for 444 days.
See the full article (New York Times, Thomas Erdbrink, 1/10/13) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Internet and Social Media

Technology Holds Key to Fair Kenya Elections
Technology is set to play a pivotal role in Kenyan elections due in March, just as it did in the last round in 2007. But in contrast to the hate that it helped to disseminate a little over five years ago after disputed elections, fuelling an orgy of violence that left more than 1,000 dead and a half a million displaced, technology is now generating hope.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, Jonathan Kalan, 1/16/13)
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Pakistani Minister Says Terrorists Using Social Media to Radicalize Populations
Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar says international terrorists are exploiting social media to radicalize local populations. Khar said extremists were using new information and communication technologies and the Internet for recruitment and incitement, as well as planning and financing their activities. Khar also suggested that counterterrorism efforts needed to adapt to these challenges in order to respond to the threat.
See the full article (RFE/RL, 1/15/13)
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Kenya Group to Urge Arrest For 'Hate Speech'
The chairman of Kenya's National Cohesion and Integration Commission says his organization will soon recommend the arrest and prosecution of Kenyans who are using social media to publish "hate speech." Mzalendo Kibunjia says the proposal is designed to prevent a repeat of the 2007-2008 post-election violence that left about 1,300 dead and more than 180,000 displaced in Kenya.
See the full article (Voice of America, Peter Clottey, 1/15/13)
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Without Frontiers, Young People Mobilize for Change
You don't need to fall for a technological determinism to understand that the Internet is helping to radicalize a new generation of young people thanks to our new-found capacity to communicate instantaneously across continents. Just as opinions during the Arab Spring spread rapidly via new technologies, so young people in Asia are today communicating, exchanging views and learning more about other young people.
See the full article (CNN, Gordon Brown, 1/15/13)
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Should Twitter Allow al-Shabab to Post Photos of Dead French Soldiers?
With the French government shocking many around the world by dispatching troops to push back Islamist insurgents in Mali, Somalia's al-Shabab militants took to social media today to taunt the French government after a failed raid to rescue an intelligence officer resulted in the deaths of two French soldiers.
See the full article (Foreign Policy, Joshua Keating, 1/14/13)
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China to Web Users: Great Firewall? Just Be Glad We're Not North Korea
Last week, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt urged North Korean leaders to embrace the Internet. Only a small proportion of that country's 24 million people can access the World Wide Web, and the majority of the 1.5 million mobile phones there belong to political and military elites. In the midst of the hubbub, China Central Television (CCTV), the state-controlled behemoth, filed a report about the state of Internet freedom in North Korea on January 10, and tweeted a summary on Sina Weibo, the leading microblog service provider.
See the full article (Atlantic, David Caragliano, 1/14/13)
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What's New from PeaceMedia

"10 Tactics for Turning Information into Action" - Tactical Technology Collective
"10 Tactics for Turning Information into Action" includes stories from more than 35 rights advocates around the world who have successfully used information and digital technologies to create positive change. The film includes the story of Noha Atef whose blog,, has led to the release of illegally detained prisoners in Egypt.
See the full video
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