BBC World is increasing its focus on the Indian market and a prominent step in this direction is the channel’s initiatives around its recent special – ‘Jeremy Bowen on The Front Line’, which airs in India on August 27, 2005.
Concentrating on the need to be accurate, BBC News South Asia Bureau Editor, Paul Danahar remarked, “It is better to be second than be wrong.”
Addressing a gathering, Danahar presented a point of view on the present dynamics of the Indian news media scene. “In India, news is still a very nascent genre. Television news is not as experienced as print is in the country and there are cases where even people fresh from college get an opportunity to go in front of the camera. In the process, at times accuracy is compromised in order to beat local competition, and the coverage of the Mumbai blasts is an example here,” he pointed out.
Delving some more on news coverage, Danahar explained that a critical area for any news channel was war coverage and that the BBC special – ‘Jeremy Bowen on The Front Line’ – gave an insight into a war correspondent’s life.
Giving a reason to cover the subject, he sid, “Journalists today have become targets. Earlier, you could put the ‘Press’ tag and go anywhere and you knew you would get that respect, but post 9/11, unfortunately that has changed. People should know the risks that reporters take today, which is far dangerous than it ever was.”
This BBC Special has been brought in association with SkodaAuto India. Elaborating on the tie-up, Imran Hassen, Managing Director, SkodaAuto India, said, “There are two key reasons for participating with BBC World for this special screening, the first and most important one is that programmes like these pass a larger social message towards the lessons to be learnt from a war scenario, and for the fact that SkodaAuto India and BBC World stand for similar values of quality and truth.”
Speaking more on this film, Danahar said, “Jeremy Bowen is one of the BBC’s most experienced correspondents. In this film, he is brutally honest about what motivated him to cover wars, how his motivation changed and what war reporting does to the people who do it for too long. At the end of this film he mentions a conversation he and I had just days before the war in Iraq began. I asked him if he wanted to come to Baghdad. He said ‘no’. What he doesn’t say in the film though is that his wife was six month’s pregnant. He didn’t want to subject her to the stress of not knowing whether her new baby would have a father. It’s often the families of war correspondents who suffer the most. It can take people who cover wars a while to understand that.”
The film throws light on the gory details of war comprising testimonies of war correspondents from various news channels and agencies, who have earned a name over a period of time.