Views On The News



If only all journalists were like Yousra Elbagir.

Yousra is the winner of the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Prize. I heard her talking to Steve Hewlett on the Radio 4 Media Show podcast the other day. She was talking about her work in Sudan. She said that there’s heavy censorship and one in ten people in the street are plain clothes security agents. Steve asked her about what it was like working on the ground there and she gave an example of when she was covering a story for the BBC World Service about the impact of government subsidy cuts and austerity measures on everyday living costs. She said she went out with a microphone to a market and asked locals, “How are prices these days?” She said, “If they told me they were the same, I’d be like, no, not you, you’re definitely not who I need to be speaking to”, then Steve chipped in and said, “Because that’s not true.” And Yousra said, “Because that’s ABSOLUTELY not true!”

I have to admit that when I heard that, at first I thought, oh no, the BBC is known for ‘balance’. If Yousra was picking and choosing which people to talk to and only using the ones who give the answers she wanted, where’s the balance? Then when she said “Because that’s ABSOLUTELY not true!”, I got it!

Journalism should be about looking for the truth. Why would you put something on the air that isn’t true? Unfortunately, too many news outlets let people go on the air and say things and make statements that are unchecked and go unchallenged. When a lie gets the same respect as the truth, that’s not balance, that’s fake news!

The electorate make choices based on the information they have. If the informnation is flawed, they make bad decicions. That’s how we ended up with Brexit and Trump.

Craic on!

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