Screen Shot of The Vanni Multimedia Graphic Novel Project. Captured from thevanni.co.uk.
We often segregate facts and opinion, history and art. We have never thought of the power of such integration will lead to such a long-lasting effect on one’s mind. It was my first time browsing TheVanni.co.uk, a graphic novel depicting the terrifying truth underneath the 26-year Sri Lanka Civil War. Benjamin Dix, a professional photographer, collaborated this project with a talented illustrator Lindsay Pollock. The project is voluntary in nature, and therefore they are now asking for donation in order to keep publishing the ongoing chapters and stories. Benjamin consolidated his observations and tragic experience when he was based in Vanni from 2004 until the UN evacuation in 2008.
Benjamin shared his motivation in initiating this project:
Many (victims) became my close friends during the war, many died in the war, many suffered as refugees around the world. Before then fighting even finished, there were many competing narratives about what precisely happened, who should account the responsibilities after the war.
Newsnight’s political editor Michael Crick has admitted that political journalists failed the British public by not being more aware of MPs’ expenses before the scandal broke. Giving a masterclass to Centre for Journalism staff and students, Crick said he was concerned that the case might be symptomatic of failings in other areas of journalism too. “In the pursuit of personality-driven journalism perhaps we are overlooking some of the bigger stories,” he said. “I think it is a failing of journalists that the collapse of the economy came as such a surprise to us. In the same way I think it’s a failing of political journalists that all this expenses stuff has come as such a surprise to so many people, including us.”
If you are a journalist, you have no excuse to know nothing about what’s happening around you. “You have to be a news junkie”, said Simon Cadman, currently Deputy Editor of Independent Radio News (IRN). What he meant was to consume news every second and know what news are happening at least every hour. As an analogy, it is like you are racing against the clock, the news headlines or the substance of the news has to be updated even faster than the twitter feeds.
Independent Radio News. Logo Credit: IRN.co.uk
Worked in the Independent Radio News since 1994, Simon was then appointed to be a news editor of the radio station five years later. IRN, one of the commercial radios in UK, was launched on October 8, 1973. According to its website, the role of IRN was “to provide a 24-hour service of national and international news to the UK’s commercial radio network”. In Simon’s words, it is a “commercial equivalent of BBC radio”.
The Press is functionally a watchdog of a democratic society, according to Thomas Jefferson’s concept of fourth estate. But whether the press is entitled to have the authoritative power obtaining news by intruding someone’s privacy through hacking emails or phones, even though it is for the people’s right to know, it should be an immoral journalistic practice to be curbed. The recent Leveson Inquiry, an idea setup by David Cameron to improve the culture, practice and ethics of the media, has drawn our attention to the question of regulating press standards, in relation to the tabloids morals of the phone-hacking scandal.
The purpose of the PCC is to serve the public and to hold the editors accountable, did it fulfill the purpose in the phone-hacking scandal?
The origins of the scandal dated back to 2005, the News of the World (NoW) royal editor Clive Goodman wrote a story about suffering from knee injury, which involved privated investigator Gienn Mulcaire for illegal phone hacking. Former editor of NoW, Paul Mcmullan defended himself in the Leveson Inquiry that eavesdropping over voicemail was an effective news gathering tool, “Phone hacking is a perfectly acceptable tool given the sacrifices we make, if all we are trying to do is get to the truth.”
The London Riots occurred in early August 2011 was arguably seen as the most widespread civil unrest in the recent decades, while a lot of accusations were made towards the media reporting on the riots, saying that the media was biased with the police or negative portrayals of the black community.
I attended the “Media and Riots” conference on November 26, organized by the Citizen Journalism Educational Trust, and held at the London College of London. Professor Gus John said in his opening remarks, pointing out the fact that “how encapsulated the journalists, especially broadcast, are within their own narrow, little and incestuous bubbles without any grasp of social realities in the polity”. He added that the journalists had been given “a banal, hysterical and downright reactionary editorial slant in their news package”.
The aim of the conference was to discuss the objectivity of the media coverage on the riots, whether they were being manipulated by the politicians and police.