Archives for July 2011

News coverage on BBC World Service

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Rajan Datar | 12:38 UK time, Friday, 29 July 2011

On this week's Over to You we look behind the stories that have been making the news.

We try to get to grips with exactly how the news is made, the decisions and challenges that are overcome in order to deliver it on the World Service.

Steve Evans, BBC World Service's Berlin correspondent joins me from Oslo, where he has been covering the unfolding tragedy there. Steve talks me through what makes this a uniquely Norwegian crisis, and how this affected coverage of it.

Phone hacking scandal

It's been the biggest media story of the year and is showing no sign of abating, but has the News of the World phone hacking scandal received too much coverage on the World Service? A listener puts this question to Andrew Whitehead, editor of news and current affairs on the World Service.

Better relations

In the mailbag we have a response to last week's special edition with World Service commissioning editors Jeremy Skeet and Steve Titherington. Listener Piet Boon shares his thoughts and ideas about how to improve listener relations.

That's it in a jam packed programme this week, as always please post you thoughts on the blog.

Rajan Datar is the presenter of Over To You.

Over To You is your chance to have your say about the BBC World Service and its programmes.

Broadcast times can be found by clicking here.

Listen to previous episodes of Over To You

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Send the team your feedback by email (overtoyou@bbc.co.uk), telephone (44 144 960 9000), SMS (447786 202006) or by leaving comments on this blog

BBC World Service Cuts: Four Months On

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Rajan Datar | 13:01 UK time, Friday, 22 July 2011

This week on a special edition of Over To You we discuss programmes on BBC World Service with two of its commissioning executives. I am joined in studio by Jeremy Skeet, Commissioning Editor, and Steve Titherington, Senior Comissioning Editor for the World Service - the two men in charge of factual programming on the World Service.

We've been sifting through our mail bag to find the burning issues to put directly to them. On the agenda; how have the cuts to the World Service settled in, how has the content changed and what have the editors re-energised.

Listener Tim Foulkes had concerns about whether the World Service has become to news oriented. He also has questions, ones that many other listeners seem to share, about the current state of The Strand.

Rajan Datar is the presenter of Over To You.

Over To You is your chance to have your say about the BBC World Service and its programmes. Broadcast times can be found by clicking here.

Listen to previous episodes of Over To You

Subscribe to the podcast
Send the team your feedback by email (overtoyou@bbc.co.uk), telephone (44 144 960 9000), SMS (447786 202006) or by leaving comments on this blog

Chris Green from Jakarta has sent us an email expressing his displeasure at the dropping of World of Music. Jeremy and Steve gave us their reactions to these and other comments, and talked me through their plans for innovative use of music documentaries and podcasts.


The media world

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Rajan Datar | 16:03 UK time, Friday, 15 July 2011

On this week's Over To You we look into the wider media world and focus on the continuing coverage on the drought in the Horn of Africa.

As the worst drought in 20 years hits the region we look at how and when it became a major news story.

We explore the relationship between aid organisations, such as Oxfam and the DEC, and the media; how do they interact and how does this relationship influence the news?

We discussed this issue with Solomon Mugera, BBC Editor Africa Region.

Some listeners may remember Solomon joined us recently to discuss South Sudan's independence and we couldn't pass up this opportunity to get him back on the show.

Ian Bray, senior press officer for Emergencies and Disasters at Oxfam also joined us to explain a bit more about how aid organisations use the media.

They considered the challenges created by this particular disaster and a more general sense of how charities and news organisations work together.

The Over To You mailbag had plenty of variety this week.

You may remember that Sue Ellis joined us last month to discuss the Reith Lectures with Aung San Suu Kyi.

After the first lecture was aired, the Burmese government banned any political activity including further statements by Ms Suu Kyi's party.

Now we don't know that the statement and the ban are linked, but Sergio Joaquim Dique from Mozambique wrote in expressing his concerns about the implications of for her safety that her participation in the lecture has created.

We put his question to Sue Ellis, Chair of the Reith Lectures and asked how does the BBC assess the risk for participants in programmes.

Michelle Vigar, who hails from Cyprus, isn't happy with how the BBC covered Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's visit to Canada, in particular how the BBC chose to discuss Kate Middleton's appearance and role.

And finally Carla Sutherland contacted us in with concerns about the BBC's coverage of the Women's Football World Cup.

We've got good news regarding the BBC's ongoing coverage, and hopefully will assuage Carla's concerns.

That's all we've got space for this week, and as always please keep your comments coming.

Rajan Datar is the presenter of Over To You.

Over To You is your chance to have your say about the BBC World Service and its programmes. Broadcast times can be found by clicking here.

Listen to previous episodes of Over To You

Subscribe to the podcast
Send the team your feedback by email (overtoyou@bbc.co.uk), telephone (44 144 960 9000), SMS (447786 202006) or by leaving comments on this blog

Covering legal cases

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Rajan Datar | 16:17 UK time, Thursday, 7 July 2011

This week on Over to You we have been looking at the reporting of former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn case in New York.

What are the challenges facing an international broadcaster like the BBC when a high profile court case like this goes global?

Since former IMF Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was first arrested on charges of attempted rape on 14 May, the case has been obsessively followed by press on both sides of the Atlantic, and details of the allegations against him have been repeatedly leaked to the media.

But last week, the media itself became part of the story, after the New York Times ran an article in which law enforcement officials questioned the credibility of the accuser.

After his bail hearing later that day, Strauss-Kahn was released from house arrest, and scenes at the courthouse reached fever pitch.

So how has the American media reported the unfolding Strauss-Kahn case, and what challenges do they pose legally for international broadcasters like the BBC?

The BBC's New York correspondent Laura Trevelyan who reported from the courthouse that day, and BBC World News Editor, Joanna Mills discussed these issues with me.

Laura explained how extraordinary the story as a clash of two very different worlds.

Laura covered the United Nations for the BBC where she would see Mr Strauss-Kahn on the global stage, and she contrasted that with the downtown Manhattan courtroom where she found herself waiting for him to appear from the cells to be brought into court.

One of our listeners pointed out that the outcome of the case would be settled by an American jury otherwise it would be a travesty of justice and I wondered whether this case showed that the American media is taking things too far.

Laura explained that in America the First Amendment of the constitution is freedom of speech and the press, so in an open society, information is a currency that everyone has access to.

I wanted to know from Joanna if she felt any responsibility to ensure that the justice system is not prejudiced by reporting - she explained that it is not the BBC's role to see that justice is served, as that is the role of the justice system, but it is the BBC's responsibility to make sure that it doesn't undermine that system.

In a UK case, the BBC is governed by strict laws about what can be reported before the case is put to the jury, but no matter where the story is happening, there are three key principles for her - is the coverage accurate, is it fair, and is it impartial.

These principles apply whether it is reporting an uprising in Syria or a criminal case in New York.

I hope that gives you a sense of the complexity of covering legal cases as a global news organisation.

In the meantime, keep your emails and calls coming.

Rajan Datar is the presenter of Over To You.

Over To You is your chance to have your say about the BBC World Service and its programmes. Broadcast times can be found by clicking here.

Listen to previous episodes of Over To You

Subscribe to the podcast
Send the team your feedback by email (overtoyou@bbc.co.uk), telephone (44 144 960 9000), SMS (447786 202006) or by leaving comments on this blog

A new country is born

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Rajan Datar | 17:50 UK time, Friday, 1 July 2011

This week's Over to You marks the birth of a new country.

In January 2011, a referendum on the independence of the southern region of Sudan was overwhelmingly passed, with 98% of the vote.

On the 9th July - just over six months later, the time will come for South Sudan to declare its independence, and with it, to step out of the shadow of the north.

It's a momentous event for Africa, and one that the World Service is marking with a series of programmes from 4th July to South Sudan's own independence day on 9th July.

In this week's programme, I speak to Vera Kwakofi, planning editor for the World Service's Africa output about the season of programmeswhich explores what secession means to both north and South Sudan, as well as its neighbours and the wider world.

We also discuss how the World Service and the Africa Service have long followed and reported the tumultuous history of Sudan and the South's long road to independence.

Before I met Vera, I talked to MathiasMuindi of the BBC's monitoring service, from his office in Nairobi about how the media landscape in South Sudan is beginning to take shape.

Traditionally, the government of the North has heavily restricted and censored the press, and Mathias told me of recent moves in the south which suggest that this isn't a situation that's likely to change when the Republic of South Sudan is born.

He told me about how, despite the poor infrastructure in the region, the internet and social media is slowly helping to assert journalistic independence, and put the reporting of news in the hands of the people - not the political powers intent on strict restriction of the media. But we also discussed the climate of censorship in the region that extends even to private media outlets, of which there are many.

Also on this week's programme, in the week the BBC Hindi Language and Arabic services were handed lifelines from the cuts affecting the World Service, we hear from one listener who believes the network now bares little resemblance to the one the Foreign Office originally agreed to fund, and as such, it should operate like a commercial broadcaster.

The cuts and the latest reprieve are issues we get a great deal of correspondence on, and please, keep telling us what you think of this and of World Service programmes.

Rajan Datar is the presenter of Over To You.

Over To You is your chance to have your say about the BBC World Service and its programmes. Broadcast times can be found by clicking here.

Listen to previous episodes of Over To You

Subscribe to the podcast
Send the team your feedback by email (overtoyou@bbc.co.uk), telephone (44 144 960 9000), SMS (447786 202006) or by leaving comments on this blog

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