News Roundup Archive

Thursday, January 15, 2015

PeaceTech News Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


PeaceTech Roundup
Weekly News Highlights, January 9-15, 2015


Peace Channel

Featured Story:
The United States Will Never Win the Propaganda War Against the Islamic State

by Manal Omar

Media and Social Media

Technology and Science

Media and Social Media

The Syrian Satirist Making Graffiti In Solidarity With Charlie Hebdo
The killings at Charlie Hebdo hit Syrian Tarek Alghorani hard. In 2006 Tarek was sentenced to seven years in the country's notorious Sednaya Prison for daring to satirise the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in his blog, Syrian Domari. After being freed in 2011, he continued his opposition to the regime that had imprisoned and tortured him, embarking with others on a graffiti campaign that would result in the deaths of his friends and, ultimately, his flight from Syria.
See the full article (Newsweek, 1/14/15, Simon Speakman Cordall)
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Islamic State Launches Social Media Campaign To Unleash 'City Wolves'
The Islamic State terrorist group has launched a big social media campaign to try to capitalize on the Paris massacre. The group is calling on jihadists to kill more Westerners and to celebrate the lives of the three Muslims who slaughtered 17 innocent civilians and police. Twitter feeds and other social media messages began Sunday, urging each Muslim to act as a "city wolf" and kill co-workers and fellow commuters.
See the full article (Washington Times, 1/13/15, Rowan Scarborough)
Click to read "Islamic State and Related Attacks in Lebanon Demand Comprehensive Response" an Olive Branch post by Elie Abouaoun.
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Media Coverage Of Charlie Hebdo And The Baga Massacre: A Study In Contrasts
Consider two tragic events that took place last week. A small cell of Islamic terrorists attacked cartoonists at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and shoppers in a Paris supermarket, killing 17 people. The hashtag #JeSuisCharlie trended globally, and world leaders took to the streets to march in support of Parisian resilience. In northern Nigeria, meanwhile, an army of Islamic extremists razed the village of Baga, killing as many as 2,000 people. There has been no global hashtag campaign or march for the victims of these most recent Boko Haram massacres.
See the full article (The Conversation, 1/13/15, Ethan Zuckerman)
Click to read "Nigeria Attacks Flare, Highlighting Fragility Before Elections" an Olive Branch post by Viola Gienger.
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Why #IAmNotCharlie Is A Trending Hashtag On Twitter
The new hashtag #IAmNotCharlie is gaining social currency on the original tag #JeSuisCharlie - indicative of an emerging alternative perspective to the initial solidarity tweet. Today those who begin to type in the original tag have found the Twitter predictive algorithm automatically altering the words "I Am" to "I Am Not." After last week's attack on Charlie Hebdo, Al Jazeera's English editor and executive producer Salah-Aldeen Khadr sent out a staff-wide e-mail in an effort to shape the coverage of the organization by urging anchors and reporters not to take the Western approach to the massacre at the French satirical magazine.
See the full article (Christian Science Monitor, 1/12/15, Lisa Suhay)
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Call For Peace Journalism
Journalists should champion the universal values of humanity, especially democracy and human rights. We must side with peace not conflict. We mustn't publish with hate and hostility and with the aim of driving wedges between social groups or individuals. No matter how big or deep our pain is we shouldn't validate dangerous approaches such as Islamophobia and racism.
See the full article (Daily Sabah, 1/12/15, Ibrahim Altay)
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Tweeting Protest In Thailand
"Thank you Mark Zuckerberg," said Saowaluk, a Thai protestor and part of the People's Democratic Reform Committee movement that took to the streets in Thailand in August 2013 and early 2014. "Facebook made this protest successful." Her words echo those of many protestors across the world since the Arab Spring in 2011 to the Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong earlier this year.
See the full article (Harvard Political Review, 1/11/15, Jasminechia)
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Let's Talk About The Other Dead Journalists
The grisly killing of 10 journalists and two police officers at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Jan. 7 was met with global indignation. A day later, Agence France-Presse reported the Libyan branch of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant beheaded two Tunisian journalists. Their beheadings received scant media coverage.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, 1/10/15, Rafia Zakaria)
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The Charlie Hebdo Attack Is An Extreme Example Of The Violence Journalists Face
Shocking as it is, the fatal attack on the newsroom of Paris' leading satirical news weekly is not an isolated incident, but rather an extreme example of the brutal, often violent reality for thousands of news professionals worldwide. Speak to newsmen and women in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Mexico, and countless other countries, and the shock and fear that has stunned France is all too familiar.
See the full article (The Guardian, 1/9/15, Andrew Heslop)
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Saudi Arabia Blogger Flogged 50 Times Out Of 1,000 For 'Insulting Islam', To Be Continued Weekly
Saudi blogger Raif Badawi has received the first 50 lashes of public flogging out of 1,000 for "insulting Islam" via an online forum that he launched. Badawi was taken to the square in front of the al-Jafali mosque in shackles and flogged for 15 minutes and then he was driven away. The witnesses say he was kept with his back to onlookers and whipped, though he remained silent.
See the full article (RT, 1/9/15)
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Featured Story from the USIP Foreign Policy Peace Channel

The United States Will Never Win the Propaganda War Against the Islamic State by Manal Omar
How can the United States counter the the Islamic State's violent narrative? The reality is that it can't. And perhaps even more importantly, it is possible that it shouldn't try to - at least not directly. As the United States tries to craft a strategy to counter the propaganda war overlapping the military one it is waging against the Islamic State, America needs to let local allies do the talking because they are the ones who can credibly deflate extremists' messages, providing peaceful alternatives to the problems that inflame potential recruits.
See the full article

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Technology and Science

Boko Haram: Satellite Images Reveal Devastation Of Massacre In Nigeria
New satellite photographs have laid bare the catastrophic scale of the latest Boko Haram atrocities, which are thought to have left hundreds of people dead and thousands of houses burnt or razed in two Nigerian towns. The before-and-after photographs of Doron Baga, which lies 1.5 miles from Baga, reveal the ferocity of the onslaught, with more than 3,100 structures damaged or destroyed by fire. Many of the wooden fishing boats that dotted the shoreline on 2 January are no longer visible five days later, when people had fled by boat in panic across Lake Chad.
See the full article (The Guardian, 1/15/15, Sam Jones and Monica Mark)
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Why Tech Gives Me Hope When The World Seems Like It's Going To Hell
Everything is awful right now. There is, however, one major flaw with this fatalist viewpoint: it's wildly inaccurate. Though it might be difficult to see in light of recent events, we are actually living through the safest time in history. This trend isn't entirely thanks to technology, but it is surely a major contributing factor-more connectivity and empowerment lessens the wants and needs to resort to violence.
See the full article (PC Mag, 1/13/15, Evan Dashevsky)
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Facebook Restricts Violent Video Clips And Photos
Facebook has begun placing warnings over videos posted to its site, stating their contents might "shock, offend and upset" if viewed. The alerts prevent the videos from automatically playing in feeds unless they are clicked, unlike other clips. The site is also preventing graphic videos and photos from being shown to any user who has identified themself as being under 18 years old.
See the full article (BBC, 1/13/15, Leo Kelion)
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U.S. Military Social Media Accounts Apparently Hacked By Islamic State Sympathizers
Hackers claiming allegiance to the Islamic State took control of the social media accounts of the U.S. military's Central Command on Monday, posting threatening messages and propaganda videos, along with some military documents. The command's Twitter and YouTube accounts were eventually taken offline, but not before a string of tweets and the release of military documents, some of which listed contact information for senior military personnel. A Centcom spokesman confirmed their accounts were "compromised."
See the full article (The Washington Post, 1/12/15, Dan Lamothe)
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Why It Remains Difficult To Shut Down Jihadist Propaganda Online
The latest video from the Islamic State shows Amedy Coulibaly, who killed four people in a Paris grocery store last week, declaring his allegiance to the self-declared caliphate and its leader, and urging other Muslims in France to follow in his footsteps. The video quickly spread through social media, but was removed from YouTube at the request of French authorities.
See the full article (Defense One, 1/12/15, Heather Timmons)
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Technology's Role In The Increased Violence Against Journalists
What is the catalyst of this unprecedented increase in violence against the global media? In a word: technology. The advent of the Internet has completely transformed the way news is gathered and disseminated to the global audience. This new system has tremendous positive advantages, allowing news to flow more easily across borders and making it more difficult for repressive governments to censor and control it. But there are also profound implications for the safety of journalists on the front lines of these information battles.
See the full article (LA Times, 1/9/15, Joel Simon)
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