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Guest presenters on Newshour

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Host Host | 08:34 UK time, Friday, 23 September 2011

Through the coming week, five commanding international broadcasters are each presenting an edition of Newshour, the BBC World Service's award-winning current affairs programme.

Jeremy Paxman

Jeremy Paxman sowed the seeds of the idea, though he didn't realise it at the time. "My hero: the BBC World Service", he declared to the Guardian earlier this year.

He went on: "I don't suppose there are many heroes who wear a cardigan and cords. But that's how I imagine the BBC World Service, an ageing uncle who's seen it all."

His heroes at Bush House wanted Jeremy to stop by and say hello - and see for himself that while we're not (all) fashionistas, the cardies and cords have long since been discarded. With a younger audience profile than, say, Radio 4 or Newsnight, we're more like the cutting edge cousin than a snoozing uncle.

And from that came the idea of getting Jeremy Paxman and other eminent news broadcasters to present our flagship programme. A statement of our ambition and success - an expression of the World Service's rude health in spite of Foreign Office cuts in our budget - and a bit of sparkle for our millions of listeners around the world.

Newshour has a fantastic team of regular presenters, of course. Two among them, Lyse Doucet and Owen Bennett Jones, have won Sony gold awards for news journalist of the year. Editor Lucy Walker's talented team of producers and anchors, along with the best studio managers in the business, have taken Newshour to two Sony radio gold awards for best news and current affairs programme in the past four years. An unrivalled achievement.

That's helped to deliver a growing global audience to the network. Last year, the English World Service gained a 10% jump in listeners to 43 million, with the biggest numbers in North America and West Africa. In Britain, a spate of big foreign stories and the increasing reach of DAB digital radio has led to even more rapid growth in audience - up to around 1.7 million weekly World Service listeners.

So our guest presenters could well be reaching a much bigger audience than they are accustomed to - they will have to find a tone and touch for live current affairs which works equally well in Lagos and Los Angeles - we are sure they will enjoy the experience, and convey that enjoyment.

And the line up, all live at 14:00 BST (13:00 GMT):

• Newsnight's Jeremy Paxman gets the ball rolling on Monday 26 September as our first guest presenter.
• On Tuesday 27 September, Christine Ockrent, one of France's most respected news broadcasters, will be in our Bush House studio.
• We come from Johannesburg on Wednesday 28 September, with Redi Tlhabi of Talk Radio 702.
• Christiane Amanpour, ABC's hugely experienced foreign correspondent, presents from New York on Thursday 29 September.
• And on Friday 30 September, Today's Evan Davis takes the helm.

As well as pursuing the day's news agenda, Newshour's guest presenters will be conducting interviews and exploring themes which reflect their own interests and expertise. And some are using their personal contacts book to get big name guests on to the programme.

Do tune in.

Andrew Whitehead is the editor of BBC World Service News.


  • Comment number 1.

    Will the rest of the world know who JP is ??

  • Comment number 2.

    Wow, whoopee, great, super and all that jazz.

  • Comment number 3.

    Closely followed by..

    "Our hero: Jeremy Paxman", the BBC World Service declared to the Guardian earlier this year.

    "Our heroes: the Guardian", the BBC World Service declared to Jeremy Paxman earlier this year.

    ...and, as that probably exhausts the options within the bubble, is about it.

    Always felt another Jeremy, Clarkson, made fair point on what these days seems to define a 'hero' in his story of the VC a while ago.

  • Comment number 4.

    Where is your daily coverage of the protests on Wall Street?

  • Comment number 5.

    There is nothing I like better than watching the luvvies stroking each other's egos. Not.

  • Comment number 6.

    The BBC was slammed in the Spectator last week...

    " In the nine weeks leading to 21 July 2000, when the argument over the euro was at its height, the Today programme featured 121 speakers on the topic.

    Some 87 were pro-euro compared to 34 who were anti. The case for the euro was represented by twice as many figures, interviews and soundbites as the case against. BBC broadcasters tended to present the pro-euro position itself as centre ground, thus defining even moderately Eurosceptic voices as extreme, meaning that they were defeated even before they had entered the debate."

    Oborne continues with a quote from former Today man Rod Liddle

    "As Rod Liddle, then editor of the Radio 4’s Today programme, said: ‘The whole ethos of the BBC and all the staff was that Eurosceptics were xenophobes and there was an end to it. The euro would come up at a meeting and everybody would just burst out laughing about the Eurosceptics.’

    Liddle recalls one meeting with a very senior figure at the BBC to deal with Eurosceptic complaints of bias. ‘Rod, the thing you have to understand is that these people are mad. They are mad.’"

  • Comment number 7.

    To Jack Hughes #6

    Is 60-pro and 60-anti the correct ratio representing the centre ground of British public opinion?

    "There is only space here to deal with a small amount of our evidence"
    The Spectator should provide links to full details of all the evidence across the full time span of analysis.

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    '7. At 05:26 26th Sep 2011, _marko wrote:
    The Spectator should provide links to full details of all the evidence across the full time span of analysis.'

    Maybe a fair precedent for all media, especially those that feel better qualified to 'take positions' on behalf of those they claim to represent (indeed, 'speak for'), whilst compelling payment to do so.

    I can grasp, if not endorse the notion of 'uniqueness', though media does seem a sensitive arena to apply it, especially when hard to reconcile with impartiality so often claimed, even to a genetic level, on these very pages.

  • Comment number 10.

    I used to watch the BBC news as reporters would report the facts plus at least two viewpoints. These days your 'media stars' interview each other, and don't even entertain points of view that don't agree with their own. It's pathetic. It's also not news.

  • Comment number 11.


    I am wondering what is the premise behind NewsHour Guest presenters week? And, I am listening to NewsHour 2x times because I loved the World Service.....

    Rochester (New York)

  • Comment number 12.

    Andrew, I think this is a great idea - I've certainly been enjoying Newshour more recently and the guest presenters angle would add a refreshing twist. I'm particularly looking forward to Christiane Amanpour's presentation on Thursday - I worked with her albeit briefly during her tenure at CNN as chief international correspondent and her perspective on many topical issues is nothing short of enlightening.

    Also looking forward to Redi's programme as I'm in South Africa at the moment - kudos to BBC for a great initiative!

    Olga - Czech on Africa journalist and blogger.

  • Comment number 13.

    Well, I don't need to watch Paxman, apart from being beyond his sell by date, his pro immigration, multiculturalism, anti Israel stance has been over presented. Yawn.

  • Comment number 14.

    BBC World Service seems Licensed to Spill, much appreciated.

    Exposure to feedback from The World might strengthen such licence for all.

    I catch only occasionally, and maybe James Landale is already a contributor.

    His recent report on Ed Miliband's Labour Conference Speech was a gem.

    A loose precis:

    "Hello again, I'm Ed, duly - with a laugh - disowned by my Marxist Miliband Dad, rewarded with a parliamentary seat, given ministerial responsibility, and then made Leader last year after my party, Labour you know, was thrown out of government.

    We've all made mistakes. I've made mistakes. But I've forgiven Neil and Tony and Gordon. I've found a place in my heart also for Margaret, in fact for any and all of my predecessors as Prime Minister. That said, I'm my own man. I know the system that used to work, isn't working any more; and that something needs to be done - by me.

    The 1960s Labour Government was naive. We thought people wanted mostly a change of the Palace Guard. The Guard was changed in 1970. and then in 1974, but we failed to learn our lesson, turfed-out again in 1979. In the 1980s we found out what could be done with power. We were not at first grateful, our members were tamed, and went to war against General Galtieri, and wondered what use were we.

    It took 18 years of opposition for 18 years to pass, for the British Public to call again for a change in the Palace Guard. We obliged, stepping into Ken Clark's old Hush Puppies, taking lashings of advice from dynamic Tory civil servants, and gong onto provide lashings of firm government, until public patience and the money ran out.

    Today, we see it all. Labour was never in charge, neither really were the traditional 'One Nation' Tories or even those claiming identity with Mammon, 'One of Us'. Poor Mr Cameron had hopes no higher than to be 'heir to Blair' to talk the talk until ideas of democracy faded from memory. Instead, deprived by the Credit Crunch of his role as Master of Trickle-Down, his image is merely that of last Lackey to disgraced Press Baron Murdoch.

    My aim is much higher, and I thought of it myself: I need to be rewarded. We both - in fact All, except the Predators - need to be rewarded. Here's the beauty of my proposal, my 'Rope A Dope': I'm going to take the flak and just not tell George - Osborne that is - exactly where I intend to strike! Just one clue I'll give: eyes and ears everywhere!"

    Right or Left or In-Between, we can only hope! Just one clue: Democracy?

  • Comment number 15.

    Fourteen comments in five days.

    I pick number five.

  • Comment number 16.

    How much faith to be placed in the BBC, or in veteran presenters?

    No shame can attach to 'faith in God' (or The Universe), in the possibility of Good. There is, after all, no point in despair.

    As well as faith, for survival and prosperity, we need intelligence: faith sustaining active pursuit of intelligence, rather than lulling into false security.

    If 'intelligence for Good' is our every-day aim, we will ask questions of ourselves and we will value the testing of teachers and leaders, uncensored, in broadcast interviews.

    As we listen, over the decades of our lives, to the output of the BBC, faith may tend to afford the benefit of any doubt. We may hope that whatever might be the gaps and infelicities in coverage, enough is revealed to allow 'a common understanding' for Good.

    That such sharp differences persist in 'understanding', and that our decades bring unending succession of folly and horror, leads - or should lead - to questioning not of our deepest faith, but of our own intelligence and education, and of the strength of questioning by those who 'should be Champions of Good', in parliaments, councils, businesses and the media.


  • Comment number 17.

    Subject to human limitations, meeting in awareness of complexity that is potentially infinite, we cannot expect 'perfection', either 'in the moment' or even 'in the end'. We can always be 'caught out', even cruelly 'made to fail'. The young doctor might 'wait at the Casualty door', or 'watch all night on the ward'; but the stretched older will know, for service and survival, 'to protect sleep', to 'delegate', to risk on occasion being too late. A Prime Minister might strive mightily to serve, and even to 'show respect to the electorate', as met and in public; but meeting 'the wrong sort of supporter', at a moment critical to national fortune, might seem 'unaffordable' and provoke unfortunate 'human reaction' in supposed privacy. How should a Jeremy Paxman deal with a 'spokesperson for Syria', both parties to the interview grappling with second-hand 'facts', apparently opposable but possibly with truth in all, as to violence from all of 'the usual suspects', civilian and state?

    Feedback from The World, on Jeremy Paxman as special presenter of Newshour on Monday 26th September, should indeed be interesting. Long-term survivors at the front-line of journalism may owe as much to entertainment, or to reinforcement of audience prejudice, as to 'incisiveness for public Good. Perhaps we do, and should, have regard to a proportionality here: the latitude of the interviewer to be in proportion to the gravity of possible folly and villainy? If, however, in any interview, there is probing to the point of formal rudeness, then unless justification emerges from admission within the interview, or from incontrovertible demonstration of bad faith or willing blindness, perhaps a conditional apology is owed to the interviewee, to parting good manners, and to The Truth?

    Against 'formal manners' will always be pleaded the difficulty of extracting truth, and the limitations of time, but it is at least possible that 'the decades' have rolled by without 'real progress', in part from lazy convenience, even cowardly convenience, perhaps even degrees of dictation - the survival of the fittest (explicitly at times) "for 'us'…"


  • Comment number 18.

    The 'civic duty' of 'patience with The News', was - to my memory - never explained to me as a child; but I eagerly awaited 'news' of real conflicts, in Space, within for a time the weekly Eagle comic. Presentation of The News has no doubt improved, but courageous reporters may still be let down by insufficiency of support in the analysis of truth and relevance.

    'In truth', it is relevance that justifies investment in, and attention to, reporting 'the truth'.

    For Newshour as for Newsnight, there is a choice to be made between 'relevance for the support of the illegitimate or corrupt', and relevance for an audience that understands, or might understand, shared need to gain democratic power and to express democratic will. If 'directness', even rudeness, are to be properly and safely deployed, subject to such considerations as above, then the central mission of the BBC, by its Charter and Agreement to have regard to the 'fundamental principles of democracy', should be the explicit platform of every News presentation - and no 'mockery'.

    Speaking of mockery, there should be some protection for guests abused by fellow guests. Last night on Newsnight, reference to an EU official as 'that idiot' was first perhaps taken as to be indulged 'in passion', but the official's eventual departure, given tedious repetition of personal insult by Peter Oborne, suggested lack of forewarning for the European guest. Jeremy Paxman's apparent slowness to offer correction afforded a priceless glimpse of opinionated 'confusion': attacking the potential Good of political convergence, exploiting the failures from lack of economic convergence, as far as one could tell with zero awareness of the democratic deficit that indeed might suggest 'idiocy' on the part of us all.

    'In faith', there almost certainly is 'a central understanding of life' that one day will be held in common - passed from generation to generation through education and from experience, and refined by intelligent exploration. Deficits in 'Competence for Good' can therefore be expected to intrude less, not just on average within larger samples of people and encounters, but across time with respect to both 'variance' and 'the mean'.

    So much for the direction of Time: for us though a matter of Choice!

  • Comment number 19.

    Moving from Paxman to Greece. I do not see how telling Greece if they default on their next payment the world will halve its debt liability, can possibly help matters. Where's the incentive to keep making the payments and what sort of message will that send to Ireland, Spain, et al. Rather than extorting 30% in interest out of Greece, the better option would be to say, look, you owe what you owe but to help you actually pay this back, we'll half the interest being charged, but double the time you have to pay it back. There seems little point continually hammering someone when they are down. Eventually they will just give in and subside, as Greece is nearing.

  • Comment number 20.

    "Christine Ockrent, one of France's most respected news broadcasters". Is this a joke? This may have been true years, decadees ago, no more. You should have said: one of France's most despised broadcasters. Ockrent used her connections (partner of then foreign Minister Kouchner) to be appointed Deputy Director of French external broadcasting holding AEF. Managed to get 85% of AEF journalists voting a motion of no-confidence in her management in December 2010, got embroiled in an internal computer hacking scandal after her PA was found to have illegally accessed to AEF computer system thanks to an IT contractor recruited by AEF following a personal recommendation from... Kouchner, for whom he had worked.
    As soon as she was appointed at AEF several journalists who had written or commented in a negative manner about Kouchner sacked.
    Known for her greed: Flouted French public TV broadcaster rules banning journalists from accepting paid commercial work (e.g. Microsoft), used her influence and contacts to get a contract for a 5-minute weekly comment on France 24 (part of AEF) for 120,000 euros a year (before being appointed deputy head of AEF); managed to be unceremoniously sacked from TV channel TF1 in 1987, nearly drove the weekly L'Express to bankruptcy. The list goes on and on and is widely documented in the French print media.
    Her shenanigans and mismanagement at AEF occupied media columns of all French newspapers as soon as she had been appointed in this organisation.
    Ockrent is an expert at projecting the fallacy of being the perfect journalist. I'm surprised that the BBC, which usually checks its facts thoroughly, missed assessing Ockrent's credentials properly.
    Furthermore, I could not hear my ears nor believe that Newshour devoted some 20 minutes of a totally vacuous interview of Carla Bruni by Ockrent (a good friend of the presidential couple). Is WS turning into an on-air version of Closer or Gala?
    And please let Mrs Ockrent enjoy her “well-deserved” retirement rather than inflict her presence again on WS listeners. Pass this comment to Ms Ockrent so that she can censor it, if she has kept her old habits!

  • Comment number 21.

    '20. At 22:29 3rd Oct 2011, Harry Caul - I'm surprised that the BBC, which usually checks its facts thoroughly, missed assessing Ockrent's credentials properly.'

    Others may be less surprised.

  • Comment number 22.

    Guest presenter as judge?

    Capitalism is both moral and efficient, and so - whatever its problems and ours - is worthy of our confidence. Capitalism on Trial, the Radio-4 two-part examination by Michael Portillo, found little difficulty in reaching this conclusion.

    The BBC audience will continue to have confidence in Mr Portillo as an engaging presenter and at times forensic questioner, and there is little reason to think that a different UK political figure would or could have done more to balance short term with long term audience concerns here.

    It is, of course, on confidence that all human dealing appears 'in the moment' to depend, whether we seek to defend tyranny, engage in trade, build a family, or plot a revolution. Mr Portillo did his best to leave us with hope - if not for Western Economies, then at least for a trial sequel.

    Advice akin to that of Hilaire Belloc, to keep ahold of Nurse, for fear of finding something Worse, came as no surprise. Interest in Mr Portillo's examination will be found not really in his conclusion but rather in his faithful failure to probe the conventional wisdoms offered by his interviewees.


  • Comment number 23.

    A tone of doubt was allowed into the questioning of Professor Kallinicos as to
    'what Marx might offer today', and this doubt seemed entirely justified by the presented reply, and by the parting coup de grace from historian Professor Stedman Jones, to the effect that Marx had highlighted problems but failed to identify solutions.

    Having conceded that today's 'capitalism' was not quite the free market dreamed of by Adam Smith in his Eighteenth Century Wealth of Nations, and having conceded some unfortunate 'excesses' particularly within 'financial capitalism', we were left with a vision akin to the sovietisation of history, all advance being attributed to capitalist invention, capitalist initiative and capitalist bearing of risk - implicitly on our behalf.

    Perhaps unavoidably superficial in the compass of a two-part programme, allowed only snatches of response from commentators tackled in isolation, Capitalism on Trial was serious enough to be of use one day in the teaching of political history, so neatly encapsulating frailties of thought that might before long seem beyond belief.

    Moving on from description and ascription, philosopher Jamie Whyte in Part One upheld the freedom of workers to take market wages, seeing personally not so much of a problem with inequality, implicitly content for the market and its political superstructure to serve unequal citizens unequally. He believes 'even harsh critics of capitalism' concede that redistribution can 'completely undermine' the wealth production we depend on, perhaps thinking more of 'blind' competition between groups ignorant of the 'experiment', rather than of inevitably selfish greed amongst those of particular skill or strength for the time being.


  • Comment number 24.

    Gillian Tett 'would defend capitalism' with the argument that 'people can rise' as well as fall, whether or not to the good of all, at least for the upholding of cosmic hope. Not merely a myth, but false, was Mr Whyte's view of the American Dream, explicitly too of our British equality of opportunity, a useful article of faith owing more to the National Lottery than to hard work, all 'social engineering' - now out of Cold War competition - being less needed for citizen loyalty to capitalism.

    Emphasising the importance of private capital for the exercise of liberty in the use of private capital, Mr Whyte neglected the possibility - the substantial reality - that much capital is allocated 'from above' by governments and large institutions responding to the 'pitches' of teams of professional managers taking salaries as well as bonuses and perhaps shares in what is effectively 'their enterprise'. Those who call for redistribution being mainly less educated, perhaps often less able, we might agree that The Left alone could miss a few tricks in business: but Mr Whyte offered little to justify either fears of desertion or eternal dependence on an Old Boys Club of Victorian character.

    The half-time view of Mr Portillo on the moral case for capitalism was that "no system rivals" the bird in the hand, "other systems" out there in the bush affording "fewer freedoms and no less inequality". We left Part One without any reference to freedom of conscience at work, or to adequacy of representation in authority, or of our prospects for survival under global rule by Mammon.


  • Comment number 25.

    In Part Two, the assumption was unspoken that only private capital could be deployed by dynamic individuals, and by groups small and large, fitted to enjoy challenge and success in the ever-changing niche-world of business. Business cycles, accepted as inevitable in any evolving economy, were acknowledged to be more extreme 'under capitalism' (meaning under conflict-of-interest capitalism), the extremities of Boom and Bust being held on balance so far still acceptable as part of 'restless innovation'.

    The focus being 'efficiency of resource allocation', again notable was such faith in process as to preclude need to define "efficiency" - what the measure, who the arbiters? Whereas Adam Smith saw efficiency from competition between large numbers of equal small players, and whereas the free citizen in an egalitarian security could define efficiency both through choice of work and choice in the market, Mr Whyte was content again to laud the freedom of unequal players, of millions expressing 'willingness to pay' despite all misgivings on value and affordability from companies possibly mis-incentivised.

    With respect to the invention and extensive use of complex debt and insurance instruments, their significance beyond the comprehension even of their banking users, the sense of interviewees contributions was that complexity could not be disinvented, and that even if attempts were made to ban or tax certain behaviours, the cleverest regulators would always be poached to work to circumvent regulation in incentivised pursuit of 'higher profits'.


  • Comment number 26.

    No suspicion was voiced that decline or under-achievement in sectors other than regulation - not least of academia, manufacturing and politics - might also owe something to the diversion of 'our cleverest'. All however were ready to admit the gravity of the current level of threat from the suddenness of debt-bubble collapse, the threat not so much to capitalism, as for some time likely to be practised in the East, but to the economies and cultures of the West. It seems the theory of global trickle-down is perhaps about to be tested in reverse, with Western economies shrinking and unable to maintain infrastructure and support services to the same extent, and at the same salaries, as hitherto.

    The ability of 'capitalism' to maintain its claimed 'efficiency of allocation', in the face of storm-force economic headwinds, is in Mr Portillo's words 'still on trial', but it is clear that while 'welfare imbalances' are seen as essential between strata within society, they will no longer be tolerated 'by capitalism' between competing locations for capital investment. As 'our' capital and 'our' capitalists move to the East, 'we' might at last consider the real arguments between Equality and Inequality as the default basis of 'our' Social Contract and intelligent productivity in material and non-material terms. Europe will be alongside us in the choice, the USA further back with more pain to be endured to make the leap back to a Founding solidarity.


  • Comment number 27.

    We have no parallel universe within which to observe difference in the progress of human intelligence denied the stimulus - or freed from the tyranny - of Fear and Greed. Truly, within history as we have it, disentanglement is difficult between the many factors that together might 'explain' intellectual curiosity, practical invention, market exploitation, and capital accumulation, all contributing to a multiplication of investment more than repaid in terms of support for population growth and advance in the quality of life, for at least some amongst survivors, and at least for now.

    If we could take 'evidence' from the casualties of material competition, within and between all states, there might be overwhelming gladness for the advantages enjoyed by many, over much of especially the last hundred years, but we the survivors might in turn address the possibility that - overall - 'our sacrifice' has been too great, in both material and spiritual terms, from exaggerated economic busts, famines, wars, genocidal slaughters, and out-of-control degradation of the Earth our home. It is not certain that we needed to develop in all of the ways and at the speed we have; and it is not certain that we adequately account for the real and opportunity costs incurred.

    A false confidence might be created and sustained for a while with the help of the faithful, but if that confidence is wholly misplaced, or fulfilled not here but 'only' in the East, then time will have been lost for the establishment of a sound basis of partnership for shared recovery.

    I trust that the BBC will stage a re-trial, even more robust, in 2012 0r 2013.

  • Comment number 28.

    Alexander Paul Styles once said, add Andrew Whitehead on facebook: ]

  • Comment number 29.

    Is it me or does he look guilty [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] of something?

  • Comment number 30.

    i wonder why all western country especially America an Uk is so worry about nuclear program in Iran. Iran is just a country same as all of you. why America and UK can have nuclear program and not Iran? Is it America and its allied worry Iran technology will be better than what America have today or maybe Iran military power will stronger than America. Is it the rule than America and UK will lead the world forever? The rule is no one is the best and America, UK are no longer the smartest. Human right where is the right? who are the one to judge America, UK and it allied wrong doing? they are always right with no mistake only ather make mistake. i strongly support Iran on it nuclear program is Iran right to go ahead with it. Allah will protect Iran.


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