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Should the press be patriotic?

Xavier Zapata | 11:22 UK time, Thursday, 18 November 2010

We're just a few days away from finding out who will host the 2018 and 2022 Fifa World Cup, and a forthcoming BBC documentary has upset the head of England's 2018 bid. Andy Anson says the BBC's plan to broadcast a Panorama documentary into allegations of Fifa corruption is "unpatriotic".

I'm incredibly disappointed with the timing of what the BBC seem to be proposing with Panorama. To do it the week before the vote - I don't think think it's patriotic.

Fifa has conducted its own investigation into corruption allegations, and has banned executive committee members Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii from voting in the 2018 and 2022 ballot.

The Panorama documentary, which will air on 29 November, is expected to investigate reports of entrapment of Fifa officials and bribery allegations over voting. The BBC says the programme "will be in the public interest". So is this unpatriotic?

Alan Stevens defends the BBC:

My view is that the BBC is entitled to broadcast the film, and the obvious time to screen it is when interest in the bid is high. To delay or postpone it would be involving the BBC in manipulation.

demsoc tweets

If media is for anything, it's for honest exposure of uncomfortable truths. Panorama isn't "unpatriotic" at all.

But CWSportlaw disagrees

What planet are @BBC Panorama on re 2018? Distinctly unpatriotic, poor form and suicidal - a winning bid would energise a nation.

You can listen to a whole mix of opinions on BBC 5Live Breakfast.

The issue of patriotism in the media keeps cropping up. When the Malawian president Bingu wa Mutharika launched Nsanje Port he publicly accused his country's media of being "unpatriotic" because they focused on the failure of the barges to dock

when Jacob Zuma was deputy president of the ANC, he criticised the media in South Africa for going over the top in their crime reporting

In other countries, newspapers and broadcast stations are patriotic and are far less interested in things that could damage their countries' reputations in the world. This is why one gets the impression that we have much more crime than other countries. In our case the media goes too far when it comes to openness.

So should journalists be patriotic? How do you balance freedom of the press with the interests of your country? Who decides what's in "the public interest"?

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