Time to re-think Russia?

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Roger Bolton asks if journalists are stuck in cold war thinking about Russia, and discovers if Radio 4's interactive drama Hashtag Love was truly interactive.

Following National Security Advisor Michael Flynn's resignation this week and stories of alleged Russian involvement in the US elections, some listeners have suggested that reporting about Russia follows only one narrative line - presenting the country as enemy of the West. So are journalists sticking to a one-sided portrayal that sounds like cold war fear? Radio 4's documentary "The Pull of Putin aimed to present a broader range of perspectives from pro-Moscow voices, and many listeners found it to be expertly balanced and a refreshing insight. Presenter and producer Tim Whewell discusses whether western media needs to re-frame the relationship with Russia.

Meanwhile, some listeners say that one candidate in the French Presidential elections is dominating coverage - Marine Le Pen of France's National Front party. Is the BBC being influenced by controversial statements from populist parties? BBC Radio Newsroom editor Richard Clark responds.

And how often have you listened to radio drama and wanted to influence the characters' decisions? Radio 4 attempted to give listeners that opportunity with Hashtag Love. The interactive drama was staged live, incorporating reactions from social media and allowing the audience to influence the ending. Writer Peter Souter explains how he conducted the twists and turns of this live drama.

Presenter: Roger Bolton
Producer: Katherine Godfrey
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

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