Tag Archives: Unreported World

One World Media Awards

26 May

Two weeks ago I attended the One World Media Awards, thanks to fellow journalist Lucy Laycock who has been given funding from the organisation to make a documentary in India.

The ceremony, held at Kings Place where I saw Quentin Blake last Autumn, started with wine and canapés. We saw a lot of interesting people, including Unreported World’s Jenny Kleeman and John Pilger.

When I was 14 I won a competition on an essay where I was to write who my hero was. I wrote about John Pilger, and the prize was to shadow the editor of the Northern Echo, Peter Barron, for the day. It was a strange feeling being at the same event as him years later.

The award ceremony itself was completely inspirational. Lucy and I felt emotional hearing some of the stories; particularly the Kenyan based community radio station, who have managed to build such a successful sense of community through the power of radio. We were fortunate enough to talk to the people behind the station after the ceremony.

We were also especially pleased for Jenny Kleeman who won the Television Award: Phillipines – The City With Too Many People.

Afterwards we had a glass of wine with Jon Snow, who was very funny and interesting to talk to. I had such a fantastic night, and it was definitely worth the sore head at work the next day.

Is the EU the Gateway to Prosperity?

26 Nov



Jenny Kleeman. LLEWELLYN 2010

Unreported World regular Jenny Kleeman visited Westminster on Tuesday to discuss her moving documentary, The Unwanted.

Although I’ve read stories of the horrors migrants have to go through when trying to get into the EU, I wasn’t prepared for some of the scenes.

The person who stood out for me was a young Afghan woman of the same age. She’s “glamorous, elegant, well-turned out.” She longed for an education, and “spoke English so beautifully.” But the Taliban had banned her from reading anything, including the Kuran.

Jenny spoke how dignified the young woman is, and how she offered to show her the temporary accomodation where she was staying. It was completly overcrowded and infested with cockroaches, but this woman still kept an air of dignity.


Jenny came across 25 Afghan people, including toddlers, on the shores of Turkey waiting be given their golden ticket into the EU, by way of a people smuggler and an inflatable dingy.

No one knows how many people make it across that short strech of water, but many bodies are found.

If the migrants are caught, they are kept in a detention centre where they are held in overcrowded cells. The centre is fit to house 300, but has around 1,000 imprisoned, including women and children. The men are beaten and share two bathrooms amongst 100 people.

When the inmates are released, they have 30 days to leave the country, or else face imprisonment.


In this time, the migrants face the excurtiating waiting list of people desperate for an appointment for asylum.

Many wait in the pouring rain for 24 hours at a time, just to be turned away. Seeing the disapointment on the faces of the people who were turned away made my heart sink, but Jenny remained remarkably profesional, who says she “saves it for the hotel room.

She explained her reasons for remaining calm in such situtations, “when journalists cry on camera it’s as if to say ‘oh, look at how upset I am’, like a platform to expose themselves”, taking the attention away from others.

With the UK putting a cap on imigration, I wonder how many of these people are able to seek asylum. With the unclear system of electing people for asylum appointments, many are left vulnerable and alienated.


As a budding journalist, many people don’t have time to speak to me when I approach them for interviews.

When walking through Stockton centre for vox pops, people ignore me because they’re busy shopping.

Jenny and her director were driving past a family, and stopped to speak to them. They had been walking for eight hours with their family, including young children, with their only possesions being the babies nappies and clothes in a carrier bag.

They had walked in the excuriating heat, and had come across on a dingy the night before. Yet, they still stopped to speak in a friendly way, even though it was clear that they were physically drained.

“They were incredibly generous and happy to talk”, says Jenny.

When the cameras were off, the family asked for a lift to the ferry. Jenny explained to us how they had to stay neutral, and were unable to give them a lift.

Jenny stays neutral by setting herself an excersise, by asking “what am I going to achieve from today”, and making sure she doesn’t stray.

It’s so sad to think that so many hopeful people see Europe as the “gateway to prosperity”, when in many situations it’s not the case.

The Perils of Journalism: Kidnap, Disease, Dehydration

16 Nov

Eamonn Matthews. LLEWELLYN 2010

BAFTA Award winner and the man behind Dispatches and Unreported World visited Westminster today to discuss his pursuit for truthfulness.

Eamonn Matthews, director of Quiksilver, described some of his most remarkable achievements including reporting on Newsnight on the outbreak of the Gulf War and his involvement in the remarkable ‘Terror in Mumbai’.


Eamonn told us the four main ingredients for a good documentary: Characters, secret filming, narrative and images.

Above all, a journalist has a “duty to tell the truth” and be “really interesting in humans”.

“Give people who are accused of things the chance to stand up for themselves.”


In such competitive times, we have to have brilliant ideas to impress. “Good ideas” seem to be the golden ticket, so to speak. ‘Terror In Mumbai’ offered all the four main ingredients.

The Dispatches episode, which won the BAFTA award for Current Affairs had the scoop on interrogation videos, interviews with victims and murderers, and presented a story which was relevant; terrorism.

The episode showed the 10 gunmen who were commissioned to enforce a bloody attack on innocent people in Mumbai for the sake of extremism.

We are able to see the tapes of the gunman speaking to his master, asking what to say to the press.

“Say this is just the trailer, the film is yet to come”, the voice hauntingly replied.

Eamonn revealed how the team were able to get their hands on the tapes, “we got the tapes through straight forward journalism, nothing mysterious about it”.


Whilst the job is clearly rewarding, Eamonn matter of factly described the downfalls.

“The thing that kills journalists is car crashes! They could be running for a scoop on a bumpy African road and WHAM!

“Disease… dehydration… Kidnapping’s a big problem. Journalists are a target”.

Eamonn added, “Most reporters are robust but it can get you down. It goes with the job”.

He modestly compared it with a doctor’s job, describing how much strain they go through without complaining.

“An aeroplane set off today and landed safely”, just wouldn’t make the news.

Above all, journalists shouldn’t be propagandists, “we leave that up to the Government PR department”, said Eamonn.

“We are not interested in the pornography of violence. We are here to make the world a better place by delivering the truth.”


“Television can take you to a place and make you feel as though your there”, said Eamonn.

Eamonn said, “for television, you need to have the x ingredient. Some people have it, some people don’t'”. He most definitely has it.

As other guest speakers have confirmed, Eamonn repeated those dreaded words, “the industry is in recession. There are very few jobs out there.”

 His final thought for budding journalists: Whatever you do, do it brilliantly!