Tag Archives: Gary Duffy + BBC + Brazil + Northern Ireland

Moment of Concern: The BBC Is Under Attack

14 Oct

Editor of BBC Interactive and former Northern Ireland correspondent Gary Duffy visited Harrow on Tuesday to discuss unfortunate stereotypes, his time in Ireland and the BBC’s troubles.

The room was completely full with many having to sit on the floor to listen to such an established figure. You could hear a pin drop, everyone sat in anticipation for what this man had to say. His passion for his most recent correspondence with Brazil was undeniable. He was equally passionate about ridding the Brazilian stereotype and the misrepresentation of the country demonstrated by many British journalists.  

Modestly Duffy kept referring to how humble he feels in such a role and how far he has come from the young man writing for the Belfast Telegraph on a type writer in 1984.

“I never would have imagined when I joined as a junior presenter that I would be given such great opportunities”, says Duffy.

Whilst it is evident that Duffy threw himself into every project given to him, it was obvious that he has a soft spot for Brazil.

“Brazil is changing a lot. Although it is still very unequal, 30 million are joining the middle classes. It is a time of great social change.

“It’s fascinating for a journalist to watch”.

Unfortunately Brazil is still a dangerous place for a journalist to be, as Duffy described the gun shots at his vehicle.

“There are weapons in the shanty towns of Rio which you wouldn’t see in Iraq”.

I believe it to be a credit to Duffy’s bravery that he didn’t let this hinder his work, and continues to strive in projecting Brazil’s voice whilst shortening the gap in understanding of South America.


Duffy outlined the unfortunate Brazilian stereotype of “carnivals, football and beautiful women”. It is about time someone aimed to dissolve this stereotype, as Brazil will be very much in the public eye in the coming years. The World Cup will be held in Brazil in 2014, followed by the Olympics in 2016.

Shamefully, I cannot remember seeing much on the country other than documentaries on shanty towns and pageants of curvaceous women in bright bikinis and head-gear.


Another of Duffy’s major concerns is the “attack on the BBC in a way it’s never received in it’s history”. Duffy proclaimed that he is incredibly lucky and proud to work for the BBC yet fears or the end of free online media.

He said the chilling words “we will look back in twenty or twenty-five years time and think ‘Why did we do that?'”

He described this move as a “moment of concern”. It is clear that Duffy is a passionate believer in public service media, and I believe that this move will alienate many.

Student Carly Nattrass said:

“When I was at uni and couldn’t afford to buy newspapers me and my flat mates would read the news online. We wouldn’t have known what was going on otherwise”.

Duffy described this move as a “moment of concern”.


Duffy offered this advice for budding journalists who want to be foreign correspondents:

  • Take a risk – see an opening and have a willingness to go somewhere far from home.
  • Build a host of contacts in the country you move to.
  • Agonise over getting names and ages right. This is particularly important in cases where people have been killed.
  • Be willing to work in whatever media you can – don’t think in segregated ways.
  • Build a host of contacts in the country you move to.

I look forward to hearing from the next guest speaker Paul Brannon on Monday.