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Going Greek

Jeremy Hillman Jeremy Hillman | 11:36 UK time, Thursday, 29 March 2007

Our commercial 24-hour global news channel is now available in over 280 million homes with a weekly audience of 65 million. But it's nearly all been for an English-speaking audience, up till now.

BBC World logoI've just spent a couple of days in Athens promoting a new deal between World and SKAI, a major broadcaster in Greece which reaches every home in the country. It's an amazing arrangement.

They take two World bulletins everyday and have a team of producers, editors and translators to dub our bulletins into Greek and re-broadcast them within three hours.

They have a state of the art newsroom, plush editing suites and frankly, studio facilities we would kill for.

Best of all, SKAI is anxious to practice the BBC's journalistic values which are well known in the country thanks to the World Service radio's Greek Service which closed a few years ago.

It's fair to say that Greek broadcast media has played by 'Australian rules' up till now, ie anything goes. Legal and editorial guidelines are something for academic study only. SKAI want to change that.

They do occasionally have problems with the translation though. Last week they spotted at the last minute that 'tourist' attacks in Iraq should have been 'terrorist' attacks.

Comments

  • 1.
  • At 12:01 PM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • JG wrote:

So you can them 'terrorist' attacks when broadcasting in Greece, but still will not use the T-word when broadcasting in English where they are referred to as 'militant' attacks, or as John Simpson says 'misguided criminals'. Why the double standards?

Jeremy, is it completely broadcast in Greek, or are their English subtitles on the output? Greece is desperately short of English language news programming on terrestrial TV.

  • 3.
  • At 05:48 PM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Ed wrote:

So, they don't understand the concept of journalistic integrity and impartiality so they have to import it?

  • 4.
  • At 01:57 AM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • David Meadows wrote:

I have spent many hours watching news programmes in Greece (Thessaloniki). Very Greek with lots of discussions about local issues which go on and on and on and on. International news is limited. The Greek population has a very limited picture of what is going on in the outside world.

Hello

Some responses...

JG,

So you can them 'terrorist' attacks when broadcasting in Greece, but still will not use the T-word when broadcasting in English where they are referred to as 'militant' attacks, or as John Simpson says 'misguided criminals'. Why the double standards?

The phrase 'terrorist attacks' was a quote in a piece and words spoken by an Iraqi Minister - World doesn't use the word terrorist and that policy is consistent.

Ed,

So, they don't understand the concept of journalistic integrity and impartiality so they have to import it?

The Minister for Comunications and others at SKAI would quite like to do exactly that, though of course there are others who disagree. I sat on a panel with him and another Government member who argued strongly for a code and they have been looking at models from other non-Greek broadcasters as a starting point. In fact, SKAI has taken sections of the BBC producer guidelines and posted them in translation on its website

Martin,

Jeremy, is it completely broadcast in Greek, or are their English subtitles on the output? Greece is desperately short of English language news programming on terrestrial TV.

BBC World in English is widely available and free to view in Greece. All the details are on www.bbcworld.com

  • 6.
  • At 11:25 AM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Mark S wrote:

‘World doesn’t use the word terrorist and that is consistent.’

Please justify this act of self censorship. Because I find it rather immoral that the BBC force’s people to pay the licence fee with threats of imprisonment, then, hold’s back on informing/educating us to the facts of what is going on in the world. The BBC should use the ‘T’ word when & where it is appropriate.

Kind regards

  • 7.
  • At 02:38 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • JG wrote:

"World doesn't use the word terrorist and that policy is consistent."

So, you have decided to remove a word from the lexicon of BBC language. What a strange value judgement. Wikipedia defines it as "Terrorism is a term used to describe violence or other harmful acts committed (or threatened) against civilians by groups or persons for political or ideological goals". Seems pretty simple, and quite descriptive really. What a shameful state the BBC is an these days. There is no such thing as a terrorist any more...amazing!

  • 8.
  • At 09:16 PM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • Joseph, Maastricht, The Netherlands wrote:

In response to JG in post #7, I absolutly agree.

The BBC seems to be another mouthpiece for TERRORISTS, living in the Netherlands (ex-pat) I listen to the World Service every day, this service is a disgrace, it is the most biased reporting media outlet you could ever have the misfortune to listen too.

The BBC reporters allow TERRORIST mouthpieces to justify murder without any interference, yet when either a Isreali or American voice comes on they are attacked, and I really mean attacked.

To prove my point I asked some of my colleagues at work to listen to 1/2 hour of a Middle East report, every single person felt that the BBC was biased in favour of the Hamas spokesperson and very rude to the Isreali spokesperson.

The people who I asked to listen to the broadcast were: Dutch, Algerian, Greek and Turkish, so before the Guardian readers call me bias..unlucky, and to reaffirm my point yes, they were all Muslim.

It might surprise a lot of BBC staff that the PC culture endemic within the BBC is not shared in the rest of Europe, in mainland Europe people are more interested in Family, Friends and Freedom, in fact all the things the BBC seems to be agianst.

I defy the BBC to publish this comment. In fact you have my email, why not take the time to actually respond to a comment?.

  • 9.
  • At 01:28 PM on 05 Apr 2007,
  • TS wrote:

No the point is that there still is a word -- "terrorist". Its just that using it would result in inevitable political bias. Why?

If this is the definition:

"violence or other harmful acts committed or threatened against civilians by groups or persons for political or ideological goals".

Then the word terrorism would have to be used for the invasion of Iraq. Presumably you're arguing the BBC should say this military action was a terrorist attack.

Its an age-old conundrum -- can't believe people still fall into its trap by arguing that terrorism is a word that can be used without political bias.

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