News Roundup Archive

Thursday, February 5, 2015

PeaceTech News Roundup



United States Institute of Peace


PeaceTech Roundup
Weekly News Highlights, January 30 - February 5, 2015


Technology, Science and Data

Media and Social Media

Tweeters Spread Kenji Goto Peace Message
A four-year old tweet written by Kenji Goto, the Japanese hostage apparently executed by Islamic State militants, has been shared more than 30,000 times. "Closing my eyes and holding still. It's the end if I get mad or scream. It's close to a prayer. Hate is not for humans. Judgment lies with God," Goto wrote. "That is what I learned from my Arabic brothers and sisters."
See the full article (BBC, 2/3/15)
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Calls For #ISISMediaBlackout To Stop Spread Of Horrific ISIS Images
Video footage and still images purportedly showing ISIS hostage Muath al-Kaseasbeh burning to death in a cage are circulating online, but social media users are urging others not to share the extremist propaganda. Twitter users are encouraging people to share other images. The argument is that sharing images of vicious murders of captives by ISIS, even in outrage or disgust, only plays into the terror group's hands and further spreads and glorifies their horrific acts.
See the full article (Global News, 2/3/15, Nick Logan)
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Why Western Media Overlooked A Massacre In Nigeria
The discussion about why the killings in Nigeria were ignored underscored an old problem: News from sub-Saharan Africa is underreported. Whatever the ultimate explanation for the coverage gap, the discussion of the lack of Baga killings coverage offers an opportunity to pivot resources toward Africa, starting with Nigeria.
See the full article (Columbia Journalism Review, 2/2/15, Jared Malsin)
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Famine Babies And Crying War Widows: Unpicking The Cliches Of Conflict Photography
Over two floors of the Photographers' Gallery in London the show displays a stream of often violent images of conflict and suffering, subjugation and struggle, from across the globe. The exhibition is curated by Mark Sealy, director of Autograph ABP. It is at times an overwhelming experience, and intentionally so. Sealy's aim is to disrupt the received narrative of conflict and revolution, to "unhinge our so-called definitive moments and set them in a wider, more relative framework."
See the full article (The Guardian, 2/2/15, Sean O'Hagan)
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War Reporters Know That Covering Conflict Can Come At A Price
The phenomenon of journalists being held hostage during war is not new. Before ISIL there was Hezbollah, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Kosovo Liberation Army and many other groups that used their captives to demand exorbitant sums of cash and changes in countries' foreign policies. But with the recent spike in deaths in the war in Syria, the spotlight once again is on war correspondents and the risks they take.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, 2/2/15, Jamie Tarabay)
Click to read "Truth in Reporting: Media and Communications in Conflict" an Olive Branch post by Anand Varghese.
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Conflict-zone Scribes Fear Fallout From Intrepid Journalist's Death
The tragic death of Kenji Goto highlights a dilemma that the journalism community in Japan has long struggled with: how much of a risk reporters should take on when working in dangerous conflict zones. Goto, who was 47, set up a one-man news agency called Independent Press in 1996. He reported from far-flung conflict zones, and was one of the few journalists from Japan who defied repeated advisories from the Foreign Ministry to stay away from Syria, where a civil war erupted in 2011.
See the full article (The Japan Times, 2/1/15, Tomoko Otake, Tomohiro Osaki, and Shusuke Murai)
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Rumors Of Wars: Under-reported Conflicts In World Leave Little Hope Of Change
While wars in Syria, Iraq and Ukraine make headlines in the West, around 30 other conflicts receive little press coverage, and the resulting lack of pressure for change could have serious implications for millions of people, experts say. Researchers say it is not necessarily the size of the conflict that attracts greater media attention. The real reasons for the differences in the coverage are less related to what atrocities were perpetrated, and more related to where, and against whom, the atrocities were perpetrated.
See the full article (Catholic Online, 1/30/15, Alex Whiting)
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Featured Story from the USIP Foreign Policy Peace Channel

Is Ebola The New Powder Keg? by Thomas Leo Scherer
In the war on Ebola, the tide may finally be turning. Its incidence continues to fall, Mali is officially Ebola free, and schools in Guinea and Sierra Leone, which closed as the epidemic spread rapidly, are finally reopening. Yet at the same time, schools in Liberia have delayed their plans to reopen by another month, suggesting that West Africa may not yet be out of the woods. The longer the epidemic persists, the greater the likelihood that the worst of Ebola's symptoms be yet to come.
See the full article

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Technology, Science and Data

Pro-Assad Hackers Are Catfishing Syrian Rebel Forces
Pro-Assad forces have broken out a surprising new weapon in the Syrian civil war: catfishing. A new report from the security firm FireEye details an ongoing intelligence-gathering operation that targeted Syrian rebel forces in the months after November of 2013. While the situation was unusual, the tactics should be familiar to anyone who's spent time on the web.
See the full article (The Verge, 2/2/15, Russell Brandom)
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White House Wants More Reaper Drones To Fight ISIS
President Barack Obama requested a healthy increase in the number of MQ-9 Reaper drones that the Pentagon will purchase next year, further reversing the brief trend in fewer drone purchases. The numbers show that the Reaper is becoming the military's favorite weapon in its fight against ISIS. But some experts say that the modest bump won't be enough to fix the military's much bigger drone problem-a growing deficit of drone pilots.
See the full article (Defense One, 2/2/15, Patrick Tucker)
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Nigeria: How Technology Can Enhance Transparency In Electoral Process
Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Abdu Bulama and Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, Monday stressed how election technology could be better institutionalised to ensure integrity and enhance transparency in the electoral process. Bulama stressed that election administrators in advanced nations had long utilised technology to help address some of their most pressing challenges.
See the full article (All Africa, 2/2/15, Emeka Anuforo)
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Hackers Use Old Lure On Web To Help Syrian Government
The Syrian conflict has been marked by a very active, if only sporadically visible, cyberbattle that has engulfed all sides, one that is less dramatic than the barrel bombs, snipers and chemical weapons - but perhaps just as effective. The United States had deeply penetrated the web and phone systems in Syria a year before the Arab Spring uprisings spread throughout the country. And once it began, Mr. Assad's digital warriors have been out in force, looking for any advantage that could keep him in power.
See the full article (New York Times, 2/1/15, David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt) *Subscription may be required to read the full article
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Managing Conflict in a World Adrift" on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at 2:30pm.
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Why Is More Data On Afghanistan War Being Classified, Former US Commanders Ask
US military commanders have decided to classify some basic information about how the war in Afghanistan is going - from how much the United States spends on weapons for Afghan troops to their rate of desertion. Now former military commanders are speaking out against the move. They're concerned that it will prevent Americans interested in tracking the progress of the nation's longest conflict from accessing information that has been readily available for the past six years.
See the full article (The Christian Science Monitor, 1/30/15, Anna Mulrine)
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