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BBC news chief calls for pressure on Iran after threats to journalists’ families

October 5th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Press freedom and ethics

The director of BBC Global News, Peter Horrocks, has called on the government to “take all necessary means” to deter the Iranian government from attempts to “undermine free media” in Iran.

Writing on the BBC Editors’ blog, Horrocks says that the families of UK-based Iranian journalists working for the BBC have been harassed, arrested and threatened in Iran in order to encourage their relatives to stop working for the corporation.

The article states:

Iranian police and officials have been arresting, questioning and intimidating the relatives of BBC staff. We believe that the relatives and friends of around 10 BBC staff have been treated this way.

Last month a group of filmakers were arrested in Iran. Contrary to reports on state TV in Iran, they where not members of staff,  but the BBC Persian channel had bought the rights to their films and they are therefore “paying the price for an indirect connection to the BBC”, according to Horrocks’ post.

These actions and threats against the BBC have been accompanied by a dramatic increase in anti-BBC rhetoric. Iranian officials have claimed that BBC staff are employees of MI6, that named staff have been involved in crimes, including sexual crimes, and that BBC Persian is inciting designated terror groups to attack Iran.

Whilst these claims are clearly absurd, the intensity of language magnifies the fears of BBC staff for their family and friends back in Iran. Given the vulnerability of those family members we have thought hard about drawing attention to this harassment. But this public statement has the full support of all staff whose families have been intimidated.

In the statement Horrocks calls on the government for assistance.

The BBC calls on the Iranian government to repudiate the actions of its officials. And we request the British and other governments take all necessary means to deter the Iranian government from all these attempts to undermine free media.

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Guardian: Hundreds of jobs at risk at BBC World Service

November 4th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Job losses, Jobs

Director of BBC Global News Peter Horrocks has warned that hundreds of jobs will “need to go” at the World Service following government funding cuts, the Media Guardian reported yesterday.

Horrocks told MPs on the Commons foreign affairs committee that the World Service would propose the closure of some foreign-language broadcasts in the face of the cuts, the report adds.

“We are a very staff-heavy organisation, most of our costs are in people,” Horrocks told MPs on the Commons foreign affairs committee. “So the reduction in staff numbers will be broadly in line with the level of savings that we need to make, ie more than 16 per cent. Our staffing is 2,000 so you can work it out relatively straightforwardly. It will be hundreds of jobs that need to go.”

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#VOJ10: Video from Value of Journalism conference

June 16th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Events

We’ve already reported fairly extensively from last week’s Polis/BBC College of Journalism Value of Journalism conference, but here’s some more video now uploaded by the BBC College of Journalism to Ustream.

It includes the final keynote, by Peter Horrocks, director of BBC Global News:

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BBC Editors Blog: ‘The end of Fortress Journalism’

July 20th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Journalism

Interesting post – and equally interesting comments – from Peter Horrocks, director of BBC World service, as part of his essay for the Beeb’s ‘The Future of Journalism’ essay series:

“Most journalists have grown up with a fortress mindset. They have lived and worked in proud institutions with thick walls. Their daily knightly task has been simple: to battle journalists from other fortresses. But the fortresses are crumbling and courtly jousts with fellow journalists are no longer impressing the crowds. The end of fortress journalism is deeply unsettling for us and requires a profound change in the mindset and culture of journalism.”

Full post at this link…

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BroadcastNow.co.uk: Hockaday replaces Horrocks as head of BBC multimedia newsroom

April 17th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Editors' pick, Jobs

BroadcastNow reports that Peter Horrocks’ deputy Mary Hockaday has been appointed as head of the BBC multimedia newsroom.

Full story at this link…

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Peter Horrocks’ new job as BBC World Service Director

February 26th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Jobs, Journalism

So finally, and after some (inaccurate) speculation the new head of BBC World Service has been announced. Peter Horrocks leaves his role, as head of the BBC’s multimedia newsroom, to replace Nigel Chapman, as director of the BBC World Service. Chapman is off to become CEO of international child development agency, Plan International. Horrocks wasn’t available for any more interviews today, but Journalism.co.uk will chase for more information soon, to find out what Horrocks hopes to bring to his new role.

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Accidental Tweet announces senior BBC appointments (but are now official)

Alfred Hermida was a little surprised to spot this last night: a Tweet from the head of the BBC newsroom, Peter Horrocks, to the director of global news, Richard Sambrook about some new appointments at the BBC.

peterhorrocks

“Perhaps it was intended to be a private, direct message”, Hermida pondered on his blog, Reportr.net.

Well, yes it was, Journalism.co.uk can now confirm after speaking to Peter Horrocks. “It’s a very embarrassing cock-up and everyone in the newsroom has been having a lot of fun at my expense,” Horrocks said.

“It’s had the perverse effect of making people who hadn’t worried about it [Twitter] think ‘oh god, if I’m going to get gossip from Peter then maybe it’s worth signing up,’ he said.

“Sambrook sent a message out late last night (…) I started it as a direct message exchange, and for some reason when I did a follow-up reply rather than go direct, it went as a public message,” Horrocks explained.

“It’s caused a bit of a flutter in the newsroom. I’m not going to use it for direct messages ever again now! I’m going to consider as a public medium in all circumstances!”

So, to clarify the situation, there are two new appointments, now officially announced (Horrocks told Malinarich and Roy this morning). In an (official) announcement Horrocks said:

“I’m pleased to tell you that Nathalie Malinarich is to be the executive editor of World Online and Andrew Roy the head of news for BBC World News. Nathalie has a strong record in World Service news and online, as Americas editor and front page editor. Andrew has widespread experience in newsgathering as former Bureau chief in DC and Brussels as well as his recent time at World News.

“Having two strong new editors will propel our global news  for audiences on TV and and online forward. And, together with World Service News, we will see further evolution of the successful global hub operation under their leadership.”

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New media types among Evening Standard’s 1000 most influential Londoners

October 7th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Newspapers, Online Journalism

Peter Mandelson had to be a last minute addition to the list because the magazine had already gone to press: being offline seems to be a recurring theme for the London Evening Standard’s 1000 most influential Londoners list, out this evening.

Can we get an online version? Can we heck! After time wasted going round the editorial houses through the Evening Standard switchboard, Brighton-based Journalism.co.uk is getting sent a print version.

So in the meantime (till the print copy arrives) here’s the online media and general media types we’ve spotted on the list of 50 that are featured on the website. And it looks like new media gets a fairly good representation.

The little ‘see new media’ under the names almost had us thinking we could click on links… no chance. Well, we’re not in London; we don’t really exist, clearly.

Shiny Media’s three founders are included – and quoted as being “highly influential in the UK online world”. They aren’t among the very top 50, but you can see a scanned in bit of the list on the Shiny blog.

Media/Online types from the top 50:

  • Nikesh Arora, GOOGLE, EUROPEAN VP: Boss of the internet giant’s most important base outside California, bringing in close to a billion pounds a year in advertising revenue in the UK. Landed Google job after 17 interviews. (New Media, TV & Radio)
  • Jonathan Ive, 41, APPLE, DESIGN GURU: The world’s most influential product designer, involved in the iPhone and iPod. He is returning to British roots, buying a £2.5 million retreat here. (New Media)
  • Mark Thompson, 51, BBC, DIRECTOR-GENERAL: From deception scandals to swingeing job cuts, Thompson has had to weather many storms while rival broadcasters pitch for a slice of the corporation’s income from the licence fee (Television & Radio)

Outside of the big 50 we’ll have to rely on the Guardian’s Media Monkey for information:

“…chief exec James Murdoch, Ashley Highfield, chief exec of the Kangaroo on-demand TV project and, drum roll please, Evening Standard owner Lord Rothermere, chairman of DMGT! Who’d have thunk that thisislondon.co.uk was such a groundbreaker?

Other media bods on the list were Paul Darce, Rebecca Wade, Ed Richards, Mark Thompson, Simon Cowell, Simon Fuller, Nick Ferrari, Emily Bell, Eric Huggers, Evan Davies, John Humphrys, Jay Hunt, Peter Horrocks, Alexandra Shulman and Gok Wan.”

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Viewmagazine hosts ‘vlog butterfly’ for BBC head interview

February 1st, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Multimedia

Viewmagazine.tv, the online magazine of videojournalism, has staged what it describes as an international ‘vlog butterfly’ with Peter Horrocks, head of the BBC’s new multimedia newsroom.

To supplement an interview with Horrocks, videojournalist and editor of the magazine David Dunkley Gyimah asked for video questions to be contributed from interested parties across the world.

Questions were submitted from as far a field as Australia and South Africa, and can be viewed individually, followed by Horrocks’ responses.

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