Tag Archives: george alagiah

‘Journalists don’t know what’s really going on abroad’, claims Tesco ethical trading head

The media is failing its responsibility to report on international aid and corruption in foreign countries, Giles Bolton, head of ethical trading policy at Tesco, said at a debate last night.

“In terms of the complicated answers and questions related to international aid, the media fall short,” he said. He went on to claim that journalists “don’t know what’s really going on abroad”.

The debate, chaired by the BBC’s George Alagiah, followed the ring-fencing of international aid in the Comprehensive Spending Review and asked whether it was time to rethink the approach to funding aid at a time of severe domestic spending cuts.

Bolton told the 300-strong audience at St. Peter De Beauvoir Church, Hackney that “we can’t trust the media to tell us how well money is spent because they don’t go to the remote countries unless there is some sort of tragedy.

“Journalists are only taken to report on the good stories, when a charity pays for them to go. So, we only ever hear about when aid is working. As a result, you can’t trust much of what is said about the aid industry.”

Alagiah faced tough questions concerning BBC policy, with an audience member asking him: “When will the BBC show what’s really going on in countries with corrupt governments?”

He refused to comment on the broadcaster’s coverage but later admitted, in response to a question about his own experience of journalists reporting on aid, that he has “seen both the good and the bad” as a BBC foreign correspondent.

Alagiah and Bolton agreed that more accountability in the media is essential for key issues surrounding aid to be properly understood and resolved.

Lucy Osborne is a freelance journalist. She is currently studying for an MA in Newspaper Journalism at City University London. Her website is http://lucyosborne.wordpress.com.

Media failings contributed to BNP’s electoral success, says George Alagiah

BBC newsreader George Alagiah believes the failings of the media have partly led to the party’s electoral success, he said at an LSE lecture last Friday.

Talking about news and identity at the Polis event, Alagiah, who currently presents the Six O’Clock News & World News Today on BBC World News, said that the media had concentrated too much on looking at differences and had not given enough of a voice to those with reasonable concerns about immigration. “I am uncomfortable with a white-only party on Question Time,” he said.

“I think the emergence of the BNP as an electoral presence in our country poses a challenge to the way in which both the political and media classes in Britain have dealt with the issues of race, identity and culture,” he added.

“There was far too much emphasis on difference and not enough emphasis on the values that unite us together as a nation. I think that there was an accidental, unintentional relegation of the concept of Britishness and when we let it go it went and found a home in the recesses of extremism here in Britain.”

The newsreader added that people asking reasonable questions about the speed of change in communities caused by immigration had been wrongly ‘slapped down as racist’. “Journalists have failed to see this sense of disempowerment amongst white working class people,” he said.

Regional news organisations have a role in tracking changes in communities and helping people to understand them, Alagiah said, adding that investment in local media was vital. “When organised well-funded regional news-gathering is in retreat, hearsay fills the gap, and this is all the more likely in the age of the blog.”

John Stevens is a postgraduate newspaper journalism student at City University. He blogs at http://bit.ly/on-the-fly.

Journalism Daily: FT clippings, sticky news, journalists freed from North Korea

Journalism.co.uk is trialling a new service via the Editors’ Blog: a daily round-up of all the content published on the Journalism.co.uk site.

We hope you’ll find it useful as a quick digest of what’s gone on during the day (similar to our e-newsletter) and to check that you haven’t missed a posting.

We’ll be testing it out for a couple of weeks, so you can subscribe to the feed for the Journalism Daily here.

Let us know what you think – all feedback much appreciated.

News and features

Ed’s picks at this link

Tip of the Day


On the Editors’ Blog

Third Sector: Fairtrade Foundation disappointed by BBC decision to force Alagiah’s resignation as its patron

“The Fairtrade Foundation has said it is disappointed by the BBC’s decision to force newsreader George Alagiah to resign as its patron,” reports the Third Sector.

Full story at this link…

Also see:

TimesOnline: ‘Senior BBC journalists fear ban on working with charities