tv The Media Show BBC News April 18, 2021 3:30pm-4:01pm BST
hello. scenes of violence in northern ireland, threats to journalists, attacks on cameramen. the key question many news rooms are asking right now, "how do we cover what's happening in belfast?" there's been criticism about the slow uptake from london—based newsrooms. so what do reporters on the ground who have been covering this for decades think? how are they navigating the volatile story and protecting their staff? plus french media giant banijay licenses many of the uk's favourite tv shows from masterchef to peaky blinders. so what's their role in determining the tv we all watch? let me introduce you today's guests. noel doran is editor of the irish news, a daily newspaper based in belfast. suzanne breen is political editor for the belfast telegraph. marianna spring is the bbc�*s disinformation reporter and cathy payne is the chief executive of banijayee rights. in overseas a mammoth roster of programmes from black mirror,
keeping up with the kardashian to masterchef. so cathy, what is next best thing you are cooking up at the moment? well, put me right on the spot with that question there. i think that banijay is a huge company, 120 production companies across 20 territories. we have in terms of cooking shows and what we are cooking up at the moment, i think as you know, we've got a masterchef finale. i would say on the theme of cooking masterchef is a global phenomenon. it's produced all around the world. it's about real people, real food and is a fantastic reflection of culture everywhere. let's start with the scenes of violence that have been playing out in the streets of belfast and other towns in northern ireland. almost 90 police officers have been injured as protesters, mainly teenagers, threw petrol
bombs and fireworks. the riots began in loyalist areas of belfast. they've been broadly linked to anger over controversial republican funeral and the irish seaboard imposed as part of the brexit deal. this has proved to be a very difficult story for the media to cover. which is what we're here to talk about, of course. and i'm joined by two leading figures in northern irishjournalism. noel doran, editor of the irish news, your paper has historically had a catholic nationalist readership. is that how you would summarise it? yes. we are very much in the catholic and nationalist tradition, constitutional politics. but we do circulate in the community — we're very proud of the fact that we have readers from protestant and unionist as well. certainly, our goal is mainly to produce a newspaper which is read within the catholic and nationalist tradition here. and suzanne breen, political editor
of the belfast telegraph, how would you categorise your readers? our readers would, we hope, reflect the northern ireland population. - traditionally, probably the biggest seen as a constitutional unionist . paper but it is read by all sections across the community _ and we are there to reflect - northern ireland's society as it is. and i'd imagine you both picked up quite a few international readers in the last couple of weeks trying to figure out what's going on. suzanne, there's been a widespread feeling that london—based newsrooms have been late to the story. there's of course a judgment call to be taken when anything like this happens. when there's a disturbance, which initially only involved a couple of dozen teenagers. when does that become a serious event and a story? how long have you been covering the build—up to this and when did you think right, this needs to be covered? well we've been covering the build of this for weeks. we thought it was very serious from the beginning. we watched it spread from the northwest part of northern ireland and to further down near belfast and
then through belfast. i think the english media caught out not paying attention to the violence at the start. they missed about a week of it. then, they did arrive and then when they arrived it mainly started to tail off. there was a bizarre moment in the middle of this, there were petrol bombs being thrown in northern ireland, very serious disturbances in the street. the police under attack, tensions high. the daily telegraph had on its front page, a story about royal mcelroy accidentally hitting his father on his head with a golf ball. that was the northern ireland person that they chose to focus on. northern ireland is very much a part from the british mainland. there may be 500 miles between london and belfast but it really seems psychologically at times like 5 million. if petrol bombs were being thrown and those disturbances
in london, in manchester, in cardiff, in edinburgh, there would not have been a gap of a week. that's the history of the troubles. it's nothing new right now. generally, the british media focused on northern ireland when there were ira attacks in england or there was british soldiers being killed in northern ireland. as opposed to local northern ireland people. noel, do you agree with that? it seems to me there is a squeamishness in london—based newsrooms about these sorts of incidents in northern ireland. i know myself, when i was a reporter for newsround back in 2013, i was sent there to cover the flag rights. —— the flag riots. the last time there was a major flare—up of violence. and it was the most intimidating story i ever covered. i spent a long time researching it but in terms of the identity politics, everything that you could say wrong that could upset, or worse, offend a large group of people. do you think there is a problem with london—based newsrooms simply not wanting to tackle these issues?
the flags issue was probably easier to cover because of the symbolism and the notion that a flag was being taken down from public buildings and there was an erosion in a sense of identity. even though it was a result of a democratic vote by an elected body. people could probably focus on it much more easily and people could probably also focus on the dispute over parades. because you have the orange order marching down a particular route and being stopped and the follow. this is been so unusual because this was there were different factors involved. clearly a connection to brexit and the northern ireland protocol. clearly anger over the bobby storey funeral story and the decision not to prosecute individuals as a result of their involvement in it. but also this vague sense of alienation and the allegation that people in protestant and unionist areas were missing out on some sort of peace bonanza — thatjobs, investment, housing was going elsewhere. which i think we definitely in the newspaper have
a responsibility to challenge. because the evidence is very much to the contrary. but when it all started to go off, it did, it was difficult to explain exactly why these people were gathering. initially, in derry, and then, in newton abbey but then when it came to the place where it all started in 1969 the imagery was unmistakable. people on the loyalist side started to attack the police, burned buses, trying to get through the peace lines, which are still with us, to confront people on the other side they are. it was almost a primeval sense to that. and people were entitled to wonder how do we come out of that? and i think some of the people involved didn't know it themselves. other than hatred of outsiders, hatred of their and enemies and a chance to attack them came along and things developed very, very quickly. yeah, some of those scenes
are extremely violent. petrol bombs being thrown at buses, violent disturbances always hard for journalist to cover. and this weekend sees the second anniversary of lyra mckee�*s death she was working as a journalist in derry when she was shot during the riot. last week. kevin scott, a cameraman working for the belfast telegraph was also assaulted while covering a protest and he spoke to bbc radio ulster about what happened. as i was making my way down to the vehicle i heard steps running behind me. just as i had turned around, there was a man wearing a mask. naturally because of the pandemic most likely, but also to cover his face. he was already on top of me. i was trailed to the ground. one of my cameras was pulled from my shoulder and thrown across the road. he then proceeded to kick that camera and the other camera was damaged on the ground at the time. as i turned around, the second male had approached me, as i stood up and moved just
towards him, he decided to step back, thankfully. as i turned around the other male was on top of me, standing in front of me, i confronted him at that point by loudly shouting in the street at him. and including asking, what are you doing? extremely distressing. another photographer also had his car trashed as well. we don't think that was a targeted attack, but suzanne, kevin is a colleague of yours, have you spoken to them, is he ok? yeah. he is very, very courageous young man. he's 26 years of age. what wasn't said there is that he's from a catholic community, the attack was loyalists. there was abuse heralded him. he was told to go back to his own area. he was back on the job, and really that is what you have to do. you have to show these people that they are not going to be you and they are not going to defeat you. —— they are not going to beat you.
the security measures taken by photographers... photographers are actually up close in a way that journalists and reporters aren't. the security measures that they adopt varies. we will see some tv crews coming to the riots and they'll actually have a security person with them. someone with warzone training. and it will be that person'sjob to look after the backs of the camera crew. they will watch and see where the journalist park their cars. there was one, i don't know whether it was russian tv crew and they came through with ppe, flakjackets, military grade helmets... would you advise against that suzanne? i think it's up entirely to the individual to make their own call and what they feel safe. most local photographers just prefer to wear a baseball cap with a hard shell. or maybe at most skateboard helmets. they don't want to draw
attention to themselves, they want to stay low key, they want to be understated and be able to move around quickly. but it's very much a balancing act. what i have found is photographers may be choosing not to work on their own, they would better work in small groups. to have a wee bit of cover. kevin's experience was awful but a lot of photographers that i would speak to say there hasn't been a major problem with the rioters. it will maybe only be if there are too close and people feel that their identity is going to be shown. rioters are legally wearing mask because of covid — those problems are not arising. there have been some exchanges — what happened kevin was horrendous. but generally, i think there hasn't been that much confrontation. noel, do you think there has been a rise in attacks or threats againstjournalists in northern ireland? sadly, there has been. but they've taken different forms. suzanne and kevin have outlined
the particular experience that. photographers has had to deal with. they've been largely out of the blue. - almost spontaneous attempts to attack photographers, - who are obvious because of the cameras. - but quite separate to that, - there's been a very sinister attempt to intimidate journalists i from a number of different papers including our own. because there were threats - being formed in the past to police through crime stoppers . and other intermediaries. —— because of their work. making suggestions that individual journalist would be shot. - examples of graffiti being painted on the wall threatening _ journalist both from our paper and other outlets. _ which is very difficult to cope with. - one of our colleagues, who has now moved on to work with suzanne had| to deal with her name being painted on the walk — she had to deal with threats being phoned through - crimestoppers against her. which are very destabilising. she stuck to her task throughout
that _ people are aware that journalists have been targeted in the course of the troubles as well. it's something that we have to give very serious consideration - to that we are in regular contact with the police. _ we had the unusual experience of having to deal directly - with senior police officers about the security - of ourjournalist. it's worth pointing out that there's been a change - in the police attitude. they take these matters much more seriously- than was previously the case. i had to take calls - from the chief constable about our staff and the safety of ourjournalist. _ it's very much appreciated. there are reasons why it's moved up to the agenda. i these tensions are inevitably being stoked on social media. i saw a quote earlier this week from sky news northern ireland correspondent said, putting out the fire on the street will be difficult, while someone somewhere is pouring petrol from a keyboard. marianna springs that bbc�*s disinformation, a video was posted on twitter last week appearing to show a dozen or more young boys holding petrol bombs. adults are seen in
the video clapping. the videos now been viewed more than half a million times at least but its origins and the context around it are being poured over by people like yourselves. what do we know about it? in many ways, this has been a blueprint for how disinformation spreads online. particularly, when you see protests or writing in the streets. it's not something that is unique to what's been happening in northern ireland over the past few weeks. we've also seen it happening in the us and in some parts of the uk. with regard to different kinds of protest happening. i think when this is happening on a very political background the we inevitably see videos like that when you spoke about being misused, misappropriated in order to feel certain narratives sometimes it's confusion, people are unsure about what's going on. often we see people deliberately accusing one side of the other behind a particular video. in this case, the video appears to show young people on the loyalist side.
it was shared multiple times with people claiming it might be fake, these are actors and it is actually people on the other side. this is all part of an attempt to further stoke tensions. i messaged a man, who first made it go viral, and he gave the details to me. but i think it also proves how important it is when scrolling through media feeds to try to verify and get to the bottom of what happens video. we are seeing again old footage being shared and other kinds of images in a bid to point the finger elsewhere or to inflame tensions. these videos, they travel so far, so fast, because they are very watchable and very dramatic as well. the general picture in northern ireland, there is an interesting study from digital forensic research lab, part of an american think tank, it's warning that fake social media profiles are also being used to stir up tension in northern ireland in general. what can you tell us about that? definitely. it's very interesting and concerning at the same time
to see this happening. again, it's something you see happen a lot, when there are tensions or protests. because people look to further inflame those. and they have different reasons for wanting to do that. these inauthentic accounts, which were removed, definitely had the hallmark of an influence information. you then begin asking the question, who would do this and why? we've seen other messages circulating on places like whatsapp, where it's very difficult to get to the bottom of who sharing in them. similarly with facebook profiles, it can be very hard to figure out who originally set up these accounts and why they did that. why they're looking to further exacerbate violence or cause trouble? often we talk about foreign influences campaign seem to do just that. to destabilise countries. in this case, this could be domestic, it could be people looking to destabilise for their own gain. another thing to really watch out for on social media, be wary of how inauthentic accounts or influence operations are used to deliberately make things worse. to deliberately make people angrier.
i think that quote you mentioned is so poignant because what happens on social media very much bleeds into what's happening on the streets. suzanne, have you seen much of this activity on social media? yes, there is a lot of that activity on social media. and threats can spread. in the past, may be a threat to a journalist was more direct. now hundreds of thousands of people can see it. there's a colleague of mine, a fantastic young female journalist on a sister paper of the belfast telegraph. she is called patricia devlin, she's received multiple death threats for her work on loyal to loyalist paramilitaries. her name has appeared on a wall. there's actually been a threat to rape her son. i hear that the police have been good in dealing with some of the cases that noel has outlined but they weren't good at all initially in dealing with patricia's threats.
they didn't take it seriously enough and she's actually had to kick up a major fuss about it to get the attention that it deserves. let's take a sharp turn now and think about the world of tv. we have got cathy payne here. the bbc announced last month at bbc four would, its words, -- in its —— in its words become the home of the most distinctive content from across the bbc�*s archive. basically, it will no longer commission original content for the channel. vice media is also closing its linear channel in the uk 4 years after it launched on sky. what does this all mean for the viewers? cathy payne is one of the biggest players in television heading up the arm of banijay that sells programmes. banijay is the biggest international content producer and distributor with over 120 production companies under its umbrella. and cathy is responsible for some of the most famous and loved shows in the world including big brother, keeping up with the kardashians and peaky blinders.
cathy, let's take you back if that's ok to one of the first major deals that you did. back in 2001 you sold home and away. the much loved australian soap opera. although i'm more of the neighbours man myself but you sold that to channel five for £40 million. there were reports that itv had offered twice as much to keep the show. can you take us into the auction room for that deal? what was your role and why did you accept the channel five offer? yes, it was a long time ago. the deal was actually done in 1999. and in terms of the process it was a nine month negotiation process. and the values that have been stated there, the show has been on—air on channel five for 20 years. so it's a long period of time.
home and away being much loved and was on itv and been on there for many years. it was up to a renewal date and itv made an offer to renew the show at the time there was a lot less than what the show had been achieving and for a lot less commitment. myjob at that time was to think what was the long benefit for the show, the audience and the ip owner which was channel seven in australia. so we were able to take the show to market. at that time channel five for launching. they needed some shows, they needed audience. they came on board and made an offer that itv at that time were not prepared to match. and that was the history. it was a risk. there's always a risk of moving show from one network. it paid off.
you make it sound like there were others. there is always those ones but i think at the end of day you've got to look at the commitment of the network and at that time and it was really hard to move it from itv. it was channel five, stood up and made a commitment and is continued with that commitment. so it's not always about the money then. there's a lot you have to weigh up when you do these deals. just to give you a bit of a bio to help the audience as well you went on to become the boss of end of known for reality tv shows and games 2015 merged with shine group. with the was the head. that deal had to be signed off by the european commission because it was so big. and potentially powerful. sorry banijay, i should say. how do you respond to people who worry about so much tv power resting in the hands of a company like yours, banijay? well, i think what you have to remember is that we do operate 120 production companies in 20 territories. that's where we physically
produce content. and for a large part of the rest of the world, where we don't have production entities, we licence the right to produce shows or licence shows that are already made. we are governed by broadcasting standards in each of those territories. and whatever you say about content and how you consume content and audience in any market tells you what they want to watch. and there is culture. culture tastes are so specific to every territory. and that will never change. that is why many of these global streaming companies who will come under pressure to have quotas on them, they already know to be successful on a global footprint, they've got to be telling stories that are very relevant to local audiences
in those local markets. so i think the audience dictates. surely size does matter in your game. do you have it with power, do you ever strong arm a channel into perhaps taking a drama series that you are trying to push in exchange for something else? you might say to the bbc, yes, you can have a mastermind for this much but you have to take this series as well. do you ever find yourself making those sorts of deals? well, in some territories on some programmes we have, the division i'm responsible for distribution so we are doing original productions we do co—productions we do finish programme sales. yes, sometimes it's literature that comes into a negotiation. that's no different to the way that you could say the streamers are offering great talent deals to suck up a lot of the talent to be a valid available exclusively for them. but if you use leverage in the wrong way it never pays off. that is my experience. right, 0k.
it sounds like you have a little bit of experience in that. let's talk about this huge back catalogue of content that you've got. —— this huge backlog. the pandemic is obviously put limits on much of the productions students had to close down or furlough. does that mean that channels have been rushing to buy your repeats? has been a bumper time for you? i think there were two things. you've got the streaming platform rise. we all know the global ones the netflix, amazon, disney plus but then what you will have is all the domestic, what i called domestic streaming platforms, who are looking to develop probably what was a catch—up service originally into a proper demand offering. people like britt box in the uk or iplayer for the bbc. where they actually acquire programming just for those services in addition to their linear services. definitely with the pandemic there was a real delay
for scripting production. unscripted was able to get up and running quite quickly. except for some bigger formats that require international travel. certainly there were slots available and it did have attention on library rerunning classics. and that has been great to be able to do that. but the real big growth is from streaming services who are looking for a long running franchises. and in our catalogue we do have a lot of those. on that topic tim devi the head of the bbc has at that national broadcasters can't and shouldn't try to compete with the deep pockets of us streamers like netflix, prime and disney. do you agree with that? i think that they compete in a different way. they compete by having a very focused on domestic shows where they can give them attention.
and deliver something to an audience that is very focused for that market that a streaming service may not. whereas streaming service do want shows that work globally. thank you very much to all our guest this week on the media show. we had of course kathy payne, chief executive at banijay rights was up early with her for marry on a spring that bbc�*s this information reported. noel doran british lignite we will be back next week thank you for your time. goodbye. hello. we have seen a lot of sunshine across the uk through the weekend. it will cloud around on sunday across scotland and northern ireland but through the week ahead,
it will be dry weather that largely comes to dominate. maybe even beyond that. for northern ireland, there were some rain around for the first part of sunday but that could be the most significant rain that we see for the uk as a hole in the next ten days or so. the rain is courtesy of this weather front but as you can see, by the time we come into monday, it will go offshore once again. skies will clear after dark in eastern scotland and temperatures will fall. we will have quite a widespread frost. western scotland and northern ireland will be saved from the cold. patchy fog will develop across parts of eastern england but the sun should make quite short work of that early on on monday. after a chilly start, a lot of sunshine. england, wales and scotland will have that rain pushing further northwards. eastern counties in northern ireland should enjoy
some brightness. up to 1a degrees in belfast. 0n some brightness. up to 1a degrees in belfast. on monday, it could be the warmest day with temperatures of 17 degrees. it will be one of the milder nights overnight monday and into tuesday. it should be frost free. 0n into tuesday. it should be frost free. on tuesday, again with the across england and wales, highs of 16 and 17 degrees with some sunshine. but the weather there eventually try to push its way south across the uk. a little bit of rain across the uk. a little bit of rain across scotland. under clear skies we will see some frost starting to return. 0n we will see some frost starting to return. on wednesday day time, the colder air will follow this weather front south across the uk with not much rain coming along with that front. a few showers across england and wales. it is that plunge into the cooler, arctic air and that will make things feel quite different towards the end of the week. still
this is bbc news. the headlines at apm: a senior conservative mp warns borisjohnson he'll lose the support of so—called �*red wall�* voters in former labour seats unless he resolves the row about lobbying. the two russian men suspected of carrying out the salisbury nerve agent attack three years ago are being sought by police in the czech republic. the czechs, for example, in the past, until quite recently, have been reticent about picking a fight with moscow and it is quite interesting how the czechs have pivoted, and they are being very robust in their response. a warning from nhs providers — it's chief executive says it will take five years for some hospitals to catch up with the backlog caused by the pandemic once the world's largest iceberg — but now no more — satellite images show the "mega—berg" has virtually gone.