Syndicate content

Journalism Ethics

Quote of the week: Michael Buerk

Sina Odugbemi's picture

Michael Buerk, British Museum, London, 2012“As a superannuated war reporter myself I’m a little sniffy about celebs pratting around among the world’s victims. I hate it when feather-bedded thesps pay flying visits to the desperate to parade their bleeding hearts and trumpet their infantile ideas on what ‘must be done’.”

- Michael Buerk, on “infantile” celebrities who lecture the public on world issues. He wrote this statement in a Radio Times interview he conducted with former soap star turned war reporter Ross Kemp. Buerk is an English journalist and newsreader, whose reporting of the Ethiopian famine on 23 October 1984 inspired the Band Aid charity record and, subsequently, the Live Aid concert.  He later anchored the BBC Nine O'Clock News and BBC News at Ten throughout the 1990s and has hosted BBC Radio 4's The Moral Maze since 1990.

Overwhelming Pictures, Perturbing Reportage

Sina Odugbemi's picture

David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker, opened a recent piece brilliantly titled ‘Aflame’ thus:

"Because memory, particularly historical memory, fails unfailingly, this summer feels like a uniquely horrific season of dissolution and blood."

Wars seem to be kicking off or intensifying everywhere. States are unraveling in what someone called ‘a great sorting out’. Global leaders and global institutions are struggling, unsuccessfully thus far, to contain, manage, and end not one conflict but several. And some of the conflicts are merging, evolving, transforming in ever more macabre ways. Above all, civilians are being killed in every one of these conflicts. Mortars are landing on homes. Women, children, the old and infirm are being slaughtered. The hard men – and they all seem to be men – leading these fights have welded iron into their souls. They have decided that they will not allow moral or legal niceties about protecting non-combatants to get in the way of an all-out drive for ‘victory’ by any means necessary.

A Delicate Dance between Distance and Access

Fumiko Nagano's picture

It is generally accepted that independent news media are one of the main building blocks for good governance. Ensuring media’s independence from the control of the powerful is a difficult task, however. While the media must maintain a critical distance from the government so as to maintain their objectivity in reporting the news, they also need to stay close enough to government in order to access the information they seek. The issues of distance and access are the two sides of the same coin, and they confront the government as well. On the one hand, the government has to protect both the privacy of sensitive information and integrity of important decision-making processes by keeping the media at bay, but on the other hand, government also needs to maintain an amicable relationship with the media so that the media would tell its side of the story and frame issues in the way it wants them framed.