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tv   The Listening Post  Al Jazeera  December 26, 2020 10:30pm-11:01pm +03

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to plentiful is not that we find on the path. we have to read more widely to forge a new future young people here definity seem keen to read. it that will. hope at least that iraq's literary heritage is being rekindled by a new generation who say their country's future stability and growth will be helped by young iraqis reading and writing more. baghdad. and now reminder of the top stories on al-jazeera the spite and escalating violence a top course in central african republic says voters will go to the polls for presidential and parliamentary elections on sunday opposition parties want to postpone the accuse the president of vote rigging rebel fighters have also rejected
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the legitimacy of the government and are struggling to march on the capital bangui . has more now from the capital we have spoken to u.n. officials who say that 80 percent of the country is safe enough for people to go to vote they fear that all the process of the laptop process is how smoothly in the other parts of the country they could have trouble areas are just few if you speak to the government spokesman and we spoke to him yes the day he paid that he. expects is going to be a little vote but he hopes that they. cannot is not going to be so low as to discredit the electoral process the european union has launched a mammoth vaccination effort to a new coronavirus variant detected in the u.k. continues to spread across the kong. hungry was the 1st to announce that it's already started vaccinating doctors and health care waters around $10000.00 doses
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of the fines or by on take vaccine are being distributed across the e.u. . up to $14000000.00 americans will lose jobs benefits by the end of saturday after u.s. president from proof used to sign a $900000000000.00 kovan $1000.00 relief package president elect joe biden has called it an abdication of responsibility congress passed the bill on monday. officers in the u.s. city of nashville say they're investigating more than 500 leads after a motor home exploded on christmas morning emergency communications of also be knocked out across large parts of tennessee after the plow the blast ripped through buildings and injured at least 3 people no fatalities have been confirmed police evacuated nearby buildings on friday after the vehicle blared a warning that a bomb would detonate in 15 minutes that's it this imposes.
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has not been called sherman. thank. you being on you and you're standing in the political shift or is there anything look at night as. the public. leaving the b.b.c. . the most vital. important accessible cultural institution in the last bar not possibly in the world. the b.b.c. was born almost a century ago in 1922 just count the fuzz the world's 1st public broadcaster 1st national radio service 1st state backed television provider. the b.b.c.
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he wrote the book supplied the model for the networks that have sprung up to cross continents including the one you're watching now is probably the highest quality. independent balanced news and documentary coverage of any broadcast station ever. to you but. if you use. times of the network's mission to inform educate and entertain a service for the people funded by the people. and the use of that funding is the b.b.c.'s strength and it's achilles heel the u.k. government controls the purse strings which puts the b.b.c.'s domestic comm on a collision course with the politicians it covers like the current prime minister barak's johnston who is out to get it. he was never underestimate the malice of a prime minister who wants to destroy or beast reduce the power of the b.b.c.
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concept of a quick service if the government has it in for the b.b.c. my advice is always try if you see. the enemy is. the movers. as its 1st director general john reeves put it the b.b.c. would serve the whole of britain the wealthy and the pole the genius and the food and it would report the news without fear or favor mission statements much easier to write the film and it didn't take long for a conflict to sufis between the b.b.c.'s dependence on the government and its journalistic need to be independent from it the b.b.c.'s news and current affairs output here in the u.k.
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is at the heart of that conflict one that has various points in the network's history and its very existence. there is a permanent tension between the government of the day of whatever political color and b.b.c. i've put it this way the b.b.c. is independent of government pressure until such time as it is not. reports from every part of the country to. reveal the general strike which began at midnight has caused enormous industrial. $926.00 millions of workers take to the streets in a general strike called in support of britain's coal miners put workers stop the presses in solidarity that left the b.b.c. less than 4 years old as the country's only national news source one the
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conservative prime minister stanley baldwin wanted on his side. as the b.b.c.'s founder john reith knew that independence and impartiality were crucial to its reputation he also viewed the government's patronage as key to the b.b.c.'s future. so general strike was a really crucial moment in the b.b.c.'s history the person who become the b.b.c.'s 1st right to general is relying on the goodwill of government for the institutional future of the b.b.c. so that's the immediate context now the government strings along this kind of threat the b.b.c. being brought in the direct government control into the strike itself and the reason they do that is pretty obvious because they know that it will impact editorially on what the b.b.c. does. john reith compromised the government would not commandeer the b.b.c. but it was effectively given
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a veto over what could be broadcast. dissenting voices from the trade unions to the opposition labor party band. in order to resume negotiations the general counsel the trades union congress decided the general strike today. by the time the unions called off the strike the strike as had a new name for the b.b.c. the british full said corporation. and that was before with invited prime minister baldwin to broadcast to the nation from reach zone study. even helped write the speech. i am. of peace but i will not tolerate the safety and security of the british constitution. hey we can say that silly found all of the principles of. an independence it was actually
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a man who allowed the prime minister of the day standing or when to broadcast from his own house and was very proud of his involvement in editing the words and making it sound better. asking the b.b.c. we. know. that. the gray area that the b.b.c. ends up occupying during the general strike and the possums reporting which are very overtly pro-government that tells us something about the organization of the b.b.c. from the beginning. john reith's diary entry about the b.b.c.'s role during the strike is pretty telling the strike he wrote would certainly have lasted much longer had it not been for us and just months later the network got the government official seal of approval through a royal charter that formalized its existence but it came with strings attached ministers were given the power to choose the b.b.c.'s chairman and members of its
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board the government word control the b.b.c.'s funding through a license fee collected from listeners and the network will be up for abuse by the government every 10 years. but it will soon take one room with no room. on the record keeping the same. night. when britain entered world war 2 it's media had to toe the government grind. as the primary distributor and amplifier of winston churchill's wartime speeches the b.b.c. now a global player grew central to the government's propaganda drive. at the dawn of the television age the b.b.c. was well positioned to grow with the technology and the times that was most clearly
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reflected in the 1960 s. in the seventy's when a culture of deference was making way for a determination to challenge authority it was a mojo liberation questioning the old image of postwar assumptions we had a lot of foreign news more more more than they do not they were the wars in africa . was going. to be artillery support for the americans and for. the cause of this they're not immediately like you to lose out here but i thought that the climate changed i think perhaps mostly under the prime ministership of margaret thatcher. good evening well it looks like being one of the most exciting election nights when the possibility of a very close result and the prospect having its 1st woman prime minister at the end of the night. margaret thatcher's election victory in 1979 triggered
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a transformation of britain's economy and institutions including the b.b.c. by then a vastly expanded confident and at times combative news operation. had the network in her sights. and member doing an interview with her and when we sat down because it was live and we had to make sure it went out we doubled up on the numbers are twice as many cameras twice as many people mrs margaret thatcher is here on panorama tonight some time before so she went around going 1234 should turn to everybody in the room who are 13 people and she said to mr dimbleby you know ahead of the american television here this morning and there were only 2 of them. she believed that the b.b.c. was soft in the head the b.b.c. was too liberal the b.b.c. was not understanding what she wanted to do and from the very beginning she was
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trying to find ways of emasculating the b.b.c. . there were 2 strands going on a government that was determined to. believe the b.b.c. to make it easy to do what it wanted to in terms of the message. and it was also very busy chasing program that was its way of fighting back. the politicians and programme makers soon came into conflict critical documentaries on topics ranging from britain's intelligence agencies to the falklands war were attacked censored sometimes shout but no issue was as contentious as the troubles in northern ireland where british troops were 10 years into fighting an insurgency by the irish republican army the ira waged a brutal bombing campaign while british forces committed atrocities of their own
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and the pressure on b.b.c. journalists covering that story from politicians from locals from their own bostons was unrelenting. in 1985 the fracture government got wind of a b.b.c. documentary that followed 2 extremist politicians one of whom was a suspected ira mida that they will be the cutting edge of a which will bring freedom to. the government wanted to ban the film the b.b.c.'s board of governors many of whom a been appointed by fracture agreed. but the decision was the director general allister milne a t.v. producer by trade was having none of it in today to reassert its already existing controversial documentary on northern ireland would run the film was broadcast but
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only after the addition of footage like this 20 seconds dedicated to the victims of the ira. but moments on borrowed time. soon appointed a new b.b.c. chairman his mission as he later wrote oust milne quickly and brutally. that was direct pressure i just. feel now that. it is because of this pressure because. you see. the old saying about the search area this is the b.b.c. so why i wasn't touched because she removed the director general but we will still win terms of. my duties striving really well to john but come along. for john birt soon to become director general was everything alistair
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milne was not namely a fellow believer in free market ideals. but point was very important because he represented someone. who share the view that more market forces ought to be brought into the b.b.c. . full disclosure for much of the 1990 s. the government official in charge of the department handling broadcasting policy was my father hayden phillips. he and john byrne had their work cut out. we worked closely together in the run up to the b.b.c. charter renewal and hears it were. managed to enable the government to agree to a charter set. which was after years of tension was a sort of peace treaty. it was
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a very important person in terms of the acceptability of the b.b.c. within government oh we couldn't stand him in new risks couldn't stand him because he was shaking things up and he was a pain in the bum in different ways. but that's great cheapened was to recognise when the digital world was going had it not been for bert the b.b.c. would not be word news today. george bush is. willing to stop side to help if i had friends. of mass destruction. the 1st director general of the 21st century greg dyke was a controversial appointment greg dyke was all smiles this morning when he heard the top broadcasting top job. as a former donor to the party in power new labor during his prime minister tony blair
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as favored candidate but he was no pushover by 2003 that rosy relationship had moved into another confrontation between the b.b.c. and the government of war tony blair as the prime minister wrote to me just before the war started to say he thought that our reporting of the monarchy to iraq had been unfair so i heard a clear aggressive letter back saying look i'm sorry but you've got thousands and thousands of people in the streets protesting against you half your party going to vote against you your whole future is in doubt. no sir you can't be the judge of pashtun you've got to leave it to us. baghdad tonight to have equal partners on the day of. the invasion of iraq was britain's largest military operation since world war 21 that lacked international legal authority. what the
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majority of the british press supported the war the b.b.c.'s mandate was to be impartial not that that was always obvious when coalition troops captured baghdad in april 2003 some b.b.c. news reports sounded similar to the spin coming out of the blair government and even tiley ungracious even for his critics not to acknowledge that tonight he stands as a larger man and a stronger prime minister as a result we've become a government most peace the worst specific voices who were not allowed tariq ali was one of them i remember saying to my to my admitted when you go to low and she war protestors onto this program and he said well we have to let the parliamentary opposition do his job 1st. saw it was 2000000 people on the streets of london. norm of them
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ever being reflected properly in the program i rather doubt that news and newsnight and those people deliberately withheld opponents of the war do you think they did enough to scrutinise the case for war all i know is that from the moment 911 on words on the program i was doing question time we had a wide range of views both for and against i'm just going to go and have a look i've got a folder with all the question time stuff said just cause a 2nd and i'll get it michael moore was michael moore in favor of the war rather doubt it here we are september 26th 2002 tara kelley you see. so he certainly wasn't banned. some b.b.c. journalists directly challenge the official line which led to trouble. defense reporter andrew gilligan was investigating the blair government dubious claims of
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iraqi weapons of mass destruction claims the from the case against saddam hussein's regime. that he has existing and active military plans for the use of chemical or biological weapons which could be activated within 45 minutes gilligan had been briefed by government weapons inspector and concluded that downing street had quote sexed up its case for war. he took his story on to b.b.c. radio 4. because correspondent is andrew gilligan yes i did the 1st interview. with gilligan downing street. says ordered a week before publication ordered it to be sexed up to be made more exciting you get everything right but he got the heart of it right that's to say that effectively we've been lied to. and the world when. we forget we can clear this group pretty much of the end of the interview number 10 was funny the b.b.c. demanding the right look by demanding that we retract everything that we got it
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said because we do. greg dyke the director general defended the b.b.c. and his report but when going to going source was found dead a case of suspected suicide gilligan was left exposed and the government went on the offensive but ordered what came to be known as the hutton inquiry its official briefs to establish the cause of death of gilligan saul's but when the inquiry published its findings it exonerated the government over its w m d claims and focused on the shortcomings in gilligan's report the verdict was that the b.b.c. was guilty. hayden phillips was the civil servant in charge of setting up the inquiry. the hutton report is often described as a whitewash what was your reaction when you 1st saw the reporters i mean a lot of my colleagues in government would you believe that the result and the
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b.b.c. had a lot to answer for in the way they handled something which was quite difficult for them but they sort of dimes themselves into a trench and wouldn't move. i'm not saying that the b.b.c. were innocent and the government was guilty but i was genuinely surprised by the decisiveness in which he pinned blame on the b.b.c. and nobody else. the chairman of the b.b.c. he designed i thought wrongly and told him only and the following day the governors of the b.b.c. got rid of me so you would say that you were pushed i was pushed was no doubt the governors of the baby she lost their battle. 'd like honesty milne almost 2 decades earlier paid the price for defending the b.b.c.'s independence. the new
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government to prove management struck a more compliant term we must now study the hutton report carefully learn appropriate lessons and implement relevant measures. there were in the wake of the departure of the chair and the director general attempts to once again introduce at risk averse editorial controls over controversial issues at the b.b.c. so we see the same pattern in place risk averse culture disseminating for the organization as a result of an over conflict with the government this for me was an important turning point when i talk to older more senior people they date that that money isn't seizure of power away from journalism much earlier sometimes in the 1990 s. on the john birch but by the time you had this defeat by the government over the report. it was the level of management control on steroids impartiality became
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really the excuse for an ideologically driven safety refusal to challenge those in power personally. trained anything quite literally anything about well none of the editors i think well maybe i should qualify about some of the editors with whom i worked with. maybe a bit more cautious than they otherwise might be i think that was in the. issues there were no issues. since the turn of the century the b.b.c. has tried to move with the times through diversity drives streaming services as well as physically branching out of london with its own 100th birthday just 2 years away its future is by no means a show would like many other states but broadcasters around the world over the past decade the b.b.c.
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has been under constant pressure from right wing governments just like those other networks it's enjoyed wave after wave of cuts to its journalists' programmes and channels to top it off the b.b.c. is now confronted with a conservative prime minister who came into office with his own broadcast agenda. good evening and welcome to the b.b.c. news at 6 from downing street where boris johnson has promised to repay the trust of voters last december 1 day after his election victory boris johnson led a government boycott against flagship b.b.c. programmes within weeks his aides were briefing journalists of their plan to quote whack the b.b.c. by abolishing t.v. license is its main source of income. as it turned out it was the government that was about to get whacked. the u.k. government's emergency. cobra committee met this often to discuss coronavirus the
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b.b.c. reminded the country of what it had to offer what citizens were paying for supplying vital services to a population under lockdown from home how do you know what are. you. close. to home schooling. this is part size its audience tripled and keener than ever to reach british aizen is johnson was back on the b.b.c. working together tackling the the disease using the social distancing measures following your boy collect whether the pandemic has forced johnson to change course or whether it's just delayed the inevitable is far too early to say at the heart of this uncertainty is the b.b.c.'s journalism if an increasingly cautious b.b.c. can still speak truth to power and hold its government paymasters to account on enviable challenges for the b.b.c.'s new director job. tim davie is a b.b.c.
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insider but one with commercializing instincts and a background in conservative politics compared with the lofty ambitions of his predecessors the davies mission is a modest one keep the b.b.c.'s enemy is at bay it's been a really troubleshoot or. has to be has to be kept simple organization over the trusted year. almost a 100 years after the b.b.c.'s birth john reith's dream of a broadcaster that would inform and educate and entertain the nation has been realised several times over but wreaths ideal of a truly independent b.b.c. has been far harder to deliver. the tension it created with its government sponsors has at times of crisis looks more like a contradiction one that as the b.b.c. heads towards its 2nd century looks no closer to being
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a result. we're going to lose a lot not just to be lose the b.b.c. but if we lose what it is still capable of doing for those of us who kind of how this love hate relationship with it i mean i love the father exists i hate some of the things it does. we must all be concerned about that but we've already lost a lot because we've lost a lot of independence and a lot of desire to pursue truth above above the goal of impartiality and. i think the battle to the independent is constant ongoing and depends on the characters of the chairman of the b.b.c. the director general of the b.b.c. the heads of news and if ever they get sucked into a lovely relationship with government and there are moments when that may happen with finished.
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hello i'm barbara starr in london these are the top stories on i'll just 01 of the world's poorest and most unstable countries is going to press ahead with elections the spite the threats of escalating violence a top court in central african republic says voters it will go to the polls for presidential and parliamentary elections on sunday opposition parties wanted the elections postponed and accuse the president of vote rigging rebel fighters of also rejected the legitimacy of the government and they're settling to march on the capital bangui 3 u.n. peacekeepers meanwhile have been killed and rights groups are warning that violence could reach.


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