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(CNN) -- This month on International Correspondents, model, muse and famous war photographer, the glamourous Lee Miller was one of the only female photojournalists documenting World War Two.

We profile her remarkable career and talk to Miller's son, Antony Penrose about his work as the curator of her photographic archives.

Tours of the Lee Miller archive are available at the family's farmhouse in Sussex, England from April to October. For more information go to

You can also view her work at an upcoming exhibition in Russia at the Moscow Photo Festival, The Legendary Lee Miller March 18-April 22 2009.

January 25 2009

This week we're taking a look back at some of International Correspondents' highlights of 2008.

CNN's Fionnuala Sweeney

CNN's Fionnuala Sweeney

It was a year dominated by a financial crisis and the U.S. Presidential election. Zimbabwe remained under the rule of Robert Mugabe and towards the end of the year terrorists struck in Mumbai, bringing an almost unprecedented level of violence to the city and India.

But this week we 're looking at some of the stories, people and pictures of 2008; from the CBS journalist, Kimberly Dozier who survived a horrific attack in Baghdad to the world famous cartoonist with the Economist, Kevin '"Kal" Kallaugher.

We could not let 2008 go by without a look back at the U.S. election, history-making for numerous reasons, not least for the technology used to bring news and statistics to the audience faster.

And also in this week's program we go back to another history-making year, 1968. Forty years ago, the International Herald Tribune chronicled the events of that tumultuous 12 months, and we revisit the pictures and stories of 1968 through their eyes.

December 25 2008

Interviewing the Interviewer: The film "Frost/Nixon" depicts the battle of wills between former President Richard Nixon and journalist, David Frost during their conversations in 1977.

The much-sought interview with the disgraced U.S. leader was the first time Nixon had agreed to publicly answer questions about the Watergate affair and his resignation. Big news at the time, and now being recounted in the movie which re-enacts the drama as Nixon reacts to Frost's probing questions.

CNN's Atika Shubert speaks to the veteran broadcaster who shares his thoughts and recollections about the big interview more than thirty years ago and whether he believes the film is a fair reflection of the interviews at the time.

President-elect Barack Obama will, in a matter of weeks, become President Obama when he makes his inauguration speech and moves into the White House on January 20th.

There were some who thought during the election campaign that Obama had not been thoroughly investigated or, more to the point, had received a free ride in the press. With the opinion polls showing high approval ratings for the incoming President, we ask whether he has been given an easy ride since his election as well and ask just how long, once in office, his honeymoon might last.

To that end, we speak to two veterans of International Correspondents, Toby Harnden, the British Daily Telegraph's man in Washington and also in DC, Jordan Lieberman, publisher of Campaigns and Elections' Politics magazine.

We ask how the new President will fare in the eyes of the media and, indeed, how the media might fare in the eyes of Obama.

And finally this week, the internet and working online. It has changed not only the face of journalism but also the fate of some journalists.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, based in New York, says more web-based reporters are being detained when compared to any other form of journalistic medium.

We ask Joel Simon of the CPJ why; how many journalists are jailed worldwide at the end of 2008; and what we might expect in 2009.

December 18, 2008

George W Bush made a farewell tour of Iraq and got more than he had perhaps bargained for.

Security is always an issue in Iraq--particularly for a U.S. President-- but this time the assault on the outgoing American leader took place from within not only the Green Zone, but the very room in which Mr. Bush was speaking to journalists.

The President had to duck when shoes were thrown at him by an Iraqi television journalist who also called Mr. Bush a dog--the ultimate insult in the Arab world.

The subsequent arrest of the tv reporter sparked protests within Iraq; his detention as he awaited trial provoked bawdy scenes in the Iraqi parliament. The Arab press reacted with seeming delight. A visit that had been designed to portray porgress in Iraq was overshadowed by a journalist throwing his shoes.

While President Bush shrugged off the incident, the question remained as to what legacy he is going to leavin in Iraq and Afghanistan? And what did the incident say about the state of journalism in Iraq?

To discuss those matters, we're joined in-studio by Iraqi journalist from "Alsharq Alawsat" newspaper, Mina al-Oraibi and author and war correspondent, Janine di Giovanni from Paris.

The troubled economy worldwide will also be associated with the outgoing Bush presidency. Questions abound as 2008 draws to a close as to whether the worst has happened or whether 2009 will bring more gloom and doom.

As the downturn continues, the UK Treasury Committee is investigating the banking crisis and what might be learned from it, and evaluating whether journalists should be restricted in what they can say during such crises.

The subject of journalists' role in covering the financial whirlwind of this past year has already been covered on this program but as the year ends, the Treasury Committee's questions prompted us to ask whether anything had been learned from the last few months.

To that end, we invited Philip Coggan, Capital Markets Editor of the "Economist" to our London studio and from New York we were joined by Jon Friedman, Senior Columnist with the MediaWeb section of MarketWatch; the financial news website.

And finally, last year it was Paris Hilton; this year it's President Nicolas Sarkozy of France. What on earth could they have in common? Also, just how big was the U.S. election worldwide?

Here to answer those questions from Montreal is Jean-Francois Dumas, President of Infuence Communication. He knows the answer because his company monitored more than a billion television news items broadcast in 22 languages in 160 countries to determine how big the U.S. election played internationally. Not to mention the work it carried out to determine how much November 4th played in U.S. domestic coverage.

And in case you just can't wait for the program find out the connection between Nicholas Sarkozy and Paris Hilton, it has something to do with the world of celebrity.

December 11, 2008

What is the role of television? And where does the law stand exactly in Britain on the subject of assisted suicide?

Those are two of the many questions posed after the airing this week of a documentary on British television. The film shows the actual moment of death of a man who went to Switzerland to die by assisted suicide.

Called `Right to Die: The Suicide Tourist,' it was broadcast on 'Sky Real Lives.' Fifty-nine-year old Craig Ewert suffered from Motor Neurone disease and he was filmed being given a lethal combination of sedatives before he, himself, switched off his oxygen ventilator.

Assisted suicide is illegal in Britain, but no-one has yet been prosecuted for travelling abroad to choose to die with assisted suicide. The documentary brings back to the forefront the issue of assisted dying in Britain and puts pressure on the government to clarify the issue.

We speak to the director of the film, John Zaritsky, an Oscar winning documentary maker, in Vancouver. And we also talk to John Beyer, the director of Mediawatch UK, a media monitoring group, in London . The discussion raises the issue of what is legal, what is objective and just how far the boundaries have been pushed by the broadcast of 'Right to Die' and its contents.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of a cholera crisis. The numbers affected vary but what is known is that the diease is spreading there and it seems that Robert Mugabe's government can do little about it.

The news has prompted renewed international calls for Mugabe to step down - the intermediary talks between him and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change on forming a power sharing government have stalled and there are reports that intimidation of MDC activists has increased.

Cholera is but one of the problems facing Zimbabwe's people; food shortages and hyperinflation are among others. Is the Mugabe regime in its final days and weeks or is the support of other African countries keeping the government afloat?

To discuss this and the challenges facing journalists inside the country we talk to CNN's Nkepile Mabuse in Johannesburg, who has in the past gone undercover in Zimbabwe and in London by Lance Guma, producer and presenter with SW Radio Africa, which broadcasts from Britain into the country. Also in studio is Alex Vines, head of the Africa Program with Chatham House in London.

And now that America is in recesssion, came the somewhat unsurprising news that Tribune Co;, owner of the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and the Baltimore Sun among other newspapers, twenty three television stations plus a national cable channel, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The Tribune Co. had huge debts and in a statement its owner said the company's objective was to restructure and focus on that debt. Some twenty thousand people are on the payroll and the impact of the announcement of filing for bankruptcy was huge.

How much had to do with debt, the Internet and/or the economy? Does it herald the way of things to come? To discuss this and more, we're joined from Washington Post Media Correspondent, Howard Kurtz and host of 'Reliable Sources' on our sister network, CNN USA.

December 4, 2008

Last week's Mumbai coverage was non-stop. From the moment the news broke that attackers had practically laid siege to the city, the airwaves were crackling and the internet hopping with eyewitness reports, seasoned journalists and just about anybody who had any kind of grasp as to what was going on there.

Now that it's over-- the siege that is-- not the long and painful aftermath, the re-examination of the coverage of Mumbai and its impact is well underway.

Citizen journalism took a big leap forward for mankind during Mumbai with news networks sometimes getting their information first-hand from the online community.

How far was traditional news media challenged during the siege by bloggers not bound by the rules and restrictions governing 'established' journalism? To what extent were hostages' lives put in danger by the plethora of specific information in the public domain? And to what extent were the Indian authorities responsible for this by not putting cordons around the extreme perimeters of the hotels and other flashpoints?

To discuss all this, we speak to three seasoned journalists and bloggers; in London, Vijay Dutt, bureau chief of the Hundustan Times joins me in studio. Media consultant Roy Wadia joins us via webcam from Mumbai and from Washington, blogger Gaurav Mishra examines the role of the citizen journalist in telling this story.

For years, many have been predicting the imminent demise of newspapers. The advent of new technology and the accompanying shift in reading habits have long been heralded as spelling the end of the morning and evening 'Read all about it!'.

Now that the recession is well and truly upon us, what now for printed news? It's true that staff numbers have been cut as advertsing has been slashed. Circulation in the US is down but according to the World Assocation of Newspapers, 530 million of us buy a paper every day. I

Is new technology the enemy or the handmaiden, to paraphrase one of our guests on this segment, Professor Roy Greenslade of City University in London. Formerly a newspaper editor, he is now a well-known media commentator.

Timothy Baldwin, CEO of the World Association of Newspapers, joins us from Paris to make the case for why he believes newspapers have a bright future and from the University of North Carolina, Professor Emeritus, Philip Meyer shares his thoughts on print and online news.

Finally, the images of war are often well documented. And often implicit in those images is the cost of war. The focus of that is the subject of an exhibition in London. Artist David Cotterell spent time last year in Afghanistan, photographing military staff at work in a medical hospital. CNN Senior International Correspondent, Nic Robertson, himself a veteran of reporting form Afghanistan went along to meet the artist and understand his work.

November 27, 2008 -- Fionnuala is off this week so Paula Newton is in the anchor chair. She's now busy covering the Mumbai attacks so it's just a quick blog entry from the team this week.

We start off with a subject that it seems is rarely reported on -- HIV/AIDS. Ahead of World Aids Day on December 1, we speak to journalists about the challenges and difficulties of reporting on the disease given the stigma and the sensitivities surrounding it. We're joined by the Medical Correspondent for "The New York Times," Lawrence K. Altman, M.D. who has spent much of his career working on stories on the subject. It's much the same for the Health Editor for UK newspaper "The Guardian," Sarah Boseley who joins us in the studio. We also get the view of photojournalist, Gideon Mendel who, through his work, has spent some 15 years exploring the lives of people infected with HIV/AIDS.

Also this week, we speak to the Director behind a documentary that explores the lives of fixers, the journalists that help mostly foreign reporters out in the field. "The Fixer: Afghanistan Behind the Scenes" by Aaron Rockett follows reporter Sean Langan and his fixer known as Sami over the course of more than three months. We take a look at the film and speak to Aaron Rockett about his project.

And the International Correspondents camera recently jostled for a spot on a press tour with renowned photographer, Annie Leibovitz at London's National Portrait Gallery. We follow her around and get the background on a few of her images.

November 20, 2008 -- This week's program is a slight departure from our usual format.

The Rory Peck Awards has become an annual fixture on the international broadcast journalists' calendar. Established after the death of freelance cameraman, Rory Peck during crossfire while covering the October revolution in Moscow in 1993, the yearly event not only seeks to recognize the contribution freelancers make to international news gathering but also endeavors to support those left behind in the event of death in the line of duty.

Last week, I had the honor of hosting the awards and the privilege of interviewing the winners and finalists afterwards. Their work and their insights are the subject of this week's International Correspondents. This week's program features three awards.

1. The Rory Peck Features Award honors freelance news features in-depth pieces which look beyond the immediacy of a news story.

The finalists featured Tim Hetherington and his eyewitness account of the physical and emotional struggles of American soldiers fighting in a remote outpost in Afghanistan.

"Grenadiers Fighting in Helmand" by Vaughan Williams gives us, as the title suggests, an insight into the travails of British soldiers in the extremely combative Afghan province of Helmand.

The third short listed feature, "Inside Hamas," came from Argentinian-British journalist Rodrigo Vasquez; a study of life in Gaza under the new Hamas government.

2. The Rory Peck News Award honors freelance coverage of on-the-day news where the focus is on the immediacy of the story.

"Kibera Slum," by Clifford Derrick shows the violence and brutality of the aftermath of Kenya's election at the beginning of this year.

Abdullahi Farah Duguf's piece, "Two Weeks in Mogadishu'"captures the violence and misery in the Somalian capital as the insurgency erupted into daily battles on the streets.

Following Cyclone Nargis, Subina Shrestha made the arduous journey "Down the Irrawaddy Delta" to tell the story of shocked survivors stranded in its wake.

3. The Rory Peck Impact Award was established to honor freelance footage which raises humanitarian issues and has contributed to a change in perception in change and policy.

The finalists included Jung In Taek & Han Yong Ho and their feature about the grueling, hazardous and emotionally charged journey of North Koreans across their northern border into China in the hope of a better life, eventually, in South Korea.

Ginny Stein's "Mugabe's Calling Card" starkly documents for those who did not already know, the consequences of questioning the regime of Robert Mugabe. The title of this piece is, unfortunately, for his victims, all too apt.

"Undercover in Tibet" by Jezza Neumann is the story of one Tibetan's bravery in deciding after years of self-imposed exile, to return to his homeland and go undercover for three long, risky, dangerous months, in order to convey to the outside world the realties of life in Tibet, particularly for those who in any way disappoint its rulers.

The pieces were illuminating; the stories riveting and all contributed to the Rory Peck Trust and its aims.

A worthy departure, indeed, from our usual format.

November 13, 2008

The pandemonium around the U.S. presidential election took its toll on the International Correspondents team this week.

We went from wall-to-wall coverage of the election to analysis and opinion on the transition from now until President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration in January.

Fionnuala is now having a post-election breather, so Paula Newton has stepped in. This week, we thought it would be timely to pause and reflect on what reporters do after covering the campaign trail for more than two years.

We speak to TIME's Michael Scherer and CNN's Suzanne Malveaux. Suzanne, who is still living out of a suitcase, comes to us from Obama's home town of Chicago.

Though the campaigns have ended, our guests tell us there are still many angles to explore: they don't expect much rest at least until Obama moves into the White House.

We also explore a story that many say has been off the media radar -- the crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The region has seen hundreds of thousands of people displaced as a result of intense fighting between the Congolese Army and rebel forces. Reporting on the story is difficult given the volatility of the situation, and journalists have found themselves being targeted.

A radio journalist has been killed and a Belgian newspaper reporter was kidnapped but freed three days later. With such a difficult and complicated story, we wanted to see whether the Western media is painting an accurate picture of what's taking place there.

Paula is joined in the studio by London-based Congolese reporter, Antoine Roger Lokongo; documentary filmmaker, Claudio von Planta, who was recently in the Congo; and we also get the view of Ernest Sagaga of the International Federation of Journalists, who's in Brussels.

CNN's Jessica Hartogs is always on the lookout for segments to feature on the show. It's a tough gig mingling with reporters, exploring galleries and exhibitions -- unfortunately for Jess it's never on the work watch.

She pointed out an installation at London's Haunch of Venison gallery called "Reporters With Borders." It features 1,600 video clips of newscasters on one wall and includes many CNN faces.

The installation is the work of artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and it projects the anchors according to geography, gender and race. Confused on the concept behind it? We were, too, so Rafael explains to us what it's all about.

From International Correspondents Producer, Matt Cargill

November 6, 2008

Well, funnily enough there was only one story this week but what a story and what a week!

Barack Obama, who a year ago was running against the formidable Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries, took to the stage in Chicago's Grant Park in front of tens of thousands of people (some estimate as many as 200,000) to make his victory speech in the 2008 U.S. Presidential election.

Much has been made of what is now being described as a seminal, transformational campaign in which modern technology and the Internet were used to access as many voters as possible.

The manner in which campaigns were funded was also changed forever as the Obama team dispensed with public funding and went on to raise the most amount of money ever for a Presidential campaign.

In this week's program, we take a look at how an Obama White House might change the traditional way of dealing with the media as we have known it; remember how the campaign publicized the announcement of Senator Joe Biden as Obama's vice-presidential running mate? The news was sent via text messages to the mobile phones of Obama supporters in the early hours of a Saturday morning.

We ask Paul Steinhauser, CNN's Deputy Political Editor who one would think should have been taking some time off after the election, how CNN faced the challenges of competing with the newer kids on the online block such as the Huffington Post and

We also speak to Howard Kurtz, media editor with the Washington Post about what the White House press corps might expect from the new administration post January 20.

The world -- not just America -- had a vested interest in this election. U.S. Presidential elections matter to many outside the country, but this year's vote seemed to galvanize more than the usual amount of attention.

The new President-elect faces a number of daunting international issues, not least among them Iraq and Iran. To that end, we spoke to Iranian journalist, Nazenin Ansari, the Diplomatic Editor with the weekly Persian language publication, Kayhan London. and the U.S. editor of The Economist about the international media reaction to this election.

And finally, many of us around the world attended parties and gatherings of one kind or another on Election night, and we at CNN were no exception. In London, politicians, celebrities and journalists watched the results come in at the CNN Election party.

The verdict of the American people was pronounced in the wee hours of the morning but not before we managed to solicit the views of several journalists as they waited for the first polls to close.

October 30, 2008

The week before the U.S. Presidential election ensures that there's only one story which has pride of place on International Correspondents this week. How has the media performed, both nationally and internationally?

With Obama ahead in the polls, how much has the media contributed to the general public's perception of him?

A recent study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism found that the coverage of the race for President did not so much portray Obama in a favorable light as much as show McCain in a substantially negative one. Press treatment of Obama has been somewhat more positive than negative but not markedly so. Did the McCain campaign get unfair treatment from the media and were the press too light on Obama? Does either charge hold up?

We turn to Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard and Roland Martin, a CNN contributor and radio talk show host, for their perspectives in the final days before the election.

Internationally, of course, this story has been huge. And the eyes of the world's press will be on America on Tuesday night. But how much access do international journalists get to the campaigns and how much do the campaigns care about how they are portrayed in the world media?

Also, how much can an individual journalist adequately report from the United States on his or her own country or constituency's interest in this election? Will reporters from Asia have the same perspective or interest as a journalist from Russia or Africa?

We put that question to Toby Harnden, U.S. editor of Britain's Daily Telegraph; Ruediger Lentz, the Washington Bureau Chief with Deutsche Welle; and Ione Molinares, correspondent with our sister network, CNN En Espanol.

2008 would have marked the 100th birthday of the veteran broadcasater, Alistair Cooke. The acclaimed journalist passed away in 2004, having made his mark on American and British broadcasting.

His weekly "Letter from America" broadcasts, chronicling U.S. life, were heard on five continents some 2,869 times; ending only shortly before his death four years ago. Cooke had also been the Guardian's Senior Correspondent for 25 years in New York as well as the host of the BBC series, "America" and other cultural programmes in the States. Few who heard his broadcasts could forget his voice and style, both informal and yet somewhat reserved at the same time.

To commemorate his life, his daughter, Susan Cooke Kittredge has compiled his broadcasts and written some commentaries on life with her father. She joined us in studio recently to talk about the book and the man himself.

October 24, 2008

This week sees International Correspondents step outside the studio and into the Barbican Art Gallery in London. Why? The Barbican is hosting a major exhibition about photography in war. Spanning seventy-odd years of wartime photography, the exhibition begins with Spanish Civil War images by Robert Capa and Gerda Taro and ends with photos from modern day Iraq by Geert van Kesteren and An-My Le, among others.

The images are fascinating, not only because of the impressions they create, but also because the methods employed have changed through the years. One constant throughout, though, is the vivid starkness of war -- whether the photos are captured by a high-tech gadget, an old-fashioned camera or by mobile phone. The Barbican's curator, Kate Bush, gives us a one-on-one tour of the exhibit, engaging us with her vast knowledge of the artists and their photographs.

We begin fittingly with the images of Robert Capa, whose work during the Spanish Civil War defined modern warfare photography. He and his lover, Gerda Taro, of whom more later, were the first photographers to get right into the middle of battle, alongside the protagonists. Consequently, the pair set the tone for future generations. Capa's "Death of a Loyalist Militiaman," otherwise known as "The Falling Soldier," is without doubt the most defining image of the Civil War. It became a symbol of the Spanish Loyalist fight and while it is arguably Capa's most famous shot, it is also his most controversial. Many disputed the authenticity of the photograph's subject. Had the militiaman really been shot or had the photo been staged? We try to answer that in this week's show.

Moreover, Capa's portrayal of the D-Day landings on Omaha Beach are forever etched in the pictorial archives of this turning point in the Second World War. The photographs, grainy because they were almost accidentally destroyed by a lab employee (many of Capa's negatives were indeed ruined), provided the inspiration for the opening scenes of Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan."

We also explore what prompted this Hungarian-born Jew to move to France, change his name from Andre Friedman to Robert Capa before getting, literally, up close and personal in battles before he was killed by a landmine during the Indochina War in 1954.

Gerda Taro was, in some ways, even more pioneering than Capa. Half Polish and raised in Germany, she, like Capa, fled to Paris with the rise of Nazism. Her life was short; her career brilliant.

Taro was the first woman to take photographs in the heat of battle and has the dubious distinction of being the first known woman to die in action. She and Capa met and romanced in Paris and together, they went to Spain to cover the Civil War. Both were strong supporters of the leftist cause and side by side they shot many of the same battle scenes which were subsequently printed in leading European publications. At some point, their relationship cooled. Taro stayed on and shot some of her best work before being killed by a passing tank in the midst of a retreat from battle. Her body was returned to Paris to a funereal reception of tens of thousands of people.

She was buried on what would have been her 27th birthday; her story symbolic of the changing role of women in pre-war Europe. Pioneering, indeed.

We also look at the work of two photographers of the 21st century. Geert van Kesteren's "Why Mister, Why" is a series of more than 400 photographs taken while he was embedded with the U.S. Army in Iraq shortly after the 2003 invasion. His work includes the range of human and not-so-human warfare, from Abu Ghraib interrogations to the chaos of civilian life.

We also focus on the work of An-My Le. She works with a large-format camera which is mounted on a tripod. Cumbersome to use, the results are well worth the effort. Granted unique access to the U.S. military's "virtual Iraq and Afghanistan" training ground, her shots convey the scope of the desert on which the soldiers carried out their manoeuvers.

The U.S. military also allowed her to photograph with them in the coastal waters off Iraq, Kuwait, Japan, Australia and Antarctica. The resulting pictures suggest the futility of the West's efforts to control the war, the planet and its natural resources.

October 17, 2008

There are many stories this week but only one has been dominating the news. Yes, for the fourth or so week in a row, the financial crisis has forced us all to read up more on how our global system works. The idea that somehow we are not all connected was shattered this past week as even the experts found themselves struggling to keep up with the twists and turns of this economic whirlwind.

So, we turn again to financial journalists in both London and New York who have found their daily working routine turned on its head over the past few weeks. In New York, David Gaffen of the Wall Street Journal and MarketBeat columnist tells us about the challenges of trying to catch up with, let alone analyse what's taking place on the market rollercoaster.

In London, Martin Dickson, deputy editor of the Financial Times and Katherine Griffiths, Financial Services Editor with the Daily Telegraph discuss how well or not, financial journalists have been keeping up with and informing the general public of the recent turn of events.

They say a bit of retail therapy is good for the soul and certainly these days, would be good for the credit system. How will the world of fashion and haute couture react to the turmoil on the markets? Who better to ask than the venerable Suzy Menkes, Fashion Editor with the International Herald Tribune? Her reviews are read with respect and not without a small amount of fear, it has to be said, by the world's most esteemed designers.

Menkes' work rate is phenomenal and her knowledge vast. She is currently celebrating twenty years with the Herald Tribune and joins us in studio to give us her take on fashion and how covering it has evolved over the past two decades.

And, in case you didn't know it, the U.S. Presidential election is less than three weeks away. This week saw the final debate between the two candidates and it was generally perceived as having been the most combative of their three encounters.

As both men try to win votes, their images are everywhere. However, we have rarely seen images of them on the campaign trail behind the scenes. Photographer Christopher Morris followed Senator John McCain for TIME Magazine. His pictures are featured in an exhibition in London called 'My America'. CNN's Monita Rajpal went along for a look.

October 9, 2008

As Fionnuala fronts CNN's Eye on Poland coverage this week, Becky Anderson steers the International Correspondents ship as we cast our weekly look at all things media.

It's been another dramatic week in the financial world: banks in trouble; rescue packages; coordinated interest rate cuts -- you name it.

The economy once again eclipsed news coverage and it's the number one issue in the U.S. presidential election. As expected, it dominated the second presidential debate, as both Barack Obama and John McCain argued the causes and potential cures to the crisis.

With the world watching the campaign, we wanted to get a sense on how the international media is viewing the election. To help ponder that, we're joined by Philippe Gelie from France's Le Figaro newspaper, Mark Simkin from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and we also have Zaki Chehab, the London bureau chief with Al-Hayat and the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation.

It's hard to believe it's been two years since the murder of Russian journalist, Anna Politkovskaya. One of the country's most controversial reporters, critical of the Kremlin and of its war in Chechnya, Politkovskaya was gunned down outside her Moscow apartment. There have been arrests in the case but the killer remains at large.

Memorials were held this week to mark the second anniversary of the killing, and the Novaya Gazetta newspaper released a special edition criticizing the investigation. Matthew Chance brings us up to date with the developments.

We also look at Belarus and the situation for the media there. Press freedom groups argue that the independent media is feeling the pressure under President Alexander Lukashenko, and they say the situation is getting worse.

The Exiled Journalists Network has been hosting an event in London this week. A panel made up of media types has been discussing what impact state restrictions and censorship are having on the press in Belarus. We put it all into perspective with Andrei Aliaksandrau and Olga Birukova.

- From International Correspondents Producer, Matt Cargill

September 25, 2008

Well, this week's news was dominated by last week's news -- the markets. And, by all accounts, it will continue to dominate for some time to come. Amidst the doom and gloom, it's hard to believe that it's exactly a year since the monks' uprising in Myanmar. But it is, and so we decided to revisit that time when it was extremely difficult to get journalists into (and, indeed, news out of) the country.

The anniversary coincided with the release of a number of political prisoners by the Myanmar government. Among them, U Win Tin, a journalist jailed for 19 years. Now 78 years old, Win Tin, who spent time in solitary confinement, managed to find time to briefly talk to International Correspondents from Yangon, less than 24 hours after his release. He tells us of his time in prison and how he believes that apart from technological advances, he sees no change in the Myanmar of 2008, compared to 19 years ago.

We are also joined by Aye Chan Naing from Oslo. He is Executive Director and Chief Editor with DVB, or the Democratic Voice of Burma, a station that broadcast news into Myanmar last year during the uprising. We ask him what, if anything, has changed one year on. Also in the studio with us is Colin Freeman. He's Chief Foreign Correspondent with the Sunday Telegraph in Britain. He went into Myanmar after the uprising.

Then it's on to Africa and the Internet. No-one doubts the quantity and quality of stories on the continent; it's the difficulty and cost of covering them that often dissuade journalists and, more often, their bosses, from tackling them. Now a new online service seeks to address that. A24 Media is a content delivery site, which is designed to help freelance journalists in particular.

The idea is this: they cover a story; A24 look it over; if they decide it's suitable, they then put it online for sale to potential buyers such as international broadcast networks. One can look online at a report and decide whether it might be something their viewers might want. Through the Web site, freelancers can market their wares to a worldwide audience. We talk to the Chairman of A24 Media, Salim Amin about the venture.

And finally, the lot of a cartoonist is a challenging one these days. With plenty of political figures to lampoon and politics to cover, there is no shortage of material for your average newspaper cartoonist. Kevin 'Kal' Kallaugher is way beyond your average cartoonist.

For three decades he has been chronicling global affairs with his drawing pen for the Economist. Many have made the cover and most will be familiar to viewers who read it. He joins us in the studio to talk about some of his most memorable works, the stories behind them, and to tell us what makes a good satirical cartoonist.

September 18, 2008

The week's news was dominated by all things financial and International Correspondents is no exception. To many a lay person, the demise of Lehman Bros may have been a far-flung, business-type Wall Street problem, but as this global downturn (or is it a meltdown?) continues, it is becoming clear that
we are all, one way or another, affected by what happens to the big
banks and insurers.

And if you didn't know it to begin with, then the assault on our non-financial senses by screaming headlines from newspapers and broadcasting outlets this past Monday was such that only a child could be forgiven for not knowing that something was very badly wrong by the day's end.

But what of the jargon? What does "Meltdown" mean in concrete business terms? Who talked the crisis up and who talked it down? Where is the line between hard market figures and their impact and the abundance of commentary and speculation that, to some degree, drives those same figures? Well, to answer these questions, we turn to Dean Starkman of the Columbia Journalism Review. In a recent essay entitled "The Language of Calamity," he argues that the business press, in his words, found its voice in covering Wall Street this week. Also joining us from New York is Katie Benner of Fortune Magazine.

Next up, Zimbabwe. The signing this week of a power-sharing agreement between President Robert Mugabe and the opposition leader, now prime minister, Morgan Tsvangarai was greeted with cautious optimism and not a little skepticism by Zimbabweans and foreign governments alike. Deep in the negotiated agreement lay references to the Zimbabwean media.

Those broadcasting or publishing from abroad are now encouraged to return home and "re-register." What that means in print and reality may be two different things and certainly, it would seem that journalists like the people of Zimbabwe are also holding their collective breath. What it means for international journalists, the vast majority of whom are banned from reporting in the country, remains to be seen as there was no reference to them in the agreement.

Nkepile Mabuse traveled from South Africa into Zimbabwe earlier in the week despite the ban on CNN journalists entering the country. Now safely back in Johannesburg, she joins us from there to tell us of her experiences and whether she feels the power-sharing agreement will change the fortunes of journalists trying to cover the story. In London, we are joined by Zimbabwean Lance Guma, a producer and presenter with SW Radio Africa which broadcasts from the British capital into his home country.

And finally, Celebrity Culture. The rise of the species has been nothing short of spectacular over the last decade or so and in Britain, one man has been largely responsible for it. Mark Frith was at the helm of Heat magazine, aimed at twenty-somethings for near-on ten years. Under his stewardship, the magazine, which takes an irreverent look at celebrities, regularly saw weekly sales figures of more than half a million.

He oversaw what he calls the democratization of celebrity: in other words, the startling revelation that stars sweat, cry and are human like the rest of us. He's just written a book about his time at Heat and his decision to resign earlier this year; demoralized, he says, by the number of tortured and erratic celebs he found himself putting on the cover.

Heat readers he says, want to see stars they can relate to and they do not include, in his view, the Amy Winehouses and Britney Spears (before her "comeback'') of this celebrity-driven world. Much to ponder as Mark Frith joins me in the studio.

September 12, 2008

Pakistan saw a change in leader this week: The longtime former President Musharraf was ousted in a veritable coup by the newly elected coalition government of Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari, widower of slain politician Benazir Bhutto.

Under Musharraf, Pakistan witnessed an explosion of satellite television. In a country with a plethora of languages and a high illiteracy rate, satellite TV rapidly became the main diet of news and information for Pakistanis. As a result, journalism and journalists became a little bit bolder and, as a colleague put it, once the genie was out of the bottle it was hard for President Musharraf to put it back in.

Well, this week, after much wrangling, Zardari succeeded in being elected the new head of state, succeeding Musharraf. What might his election herald for the Pakistani media? To answer that, we turn to Shahed Sadullah, editor of The News in London and in Islamabad, TIME magazine's Aryn Baker.

The week of the seventh anniversary of 9/11 reminds us that it's almost seven years too since the conflict in Afghanistan began. What was initially quite quickly regarded as done and dusted has now, in 2008, become something of a nightmare for the various armed forces there as the Taliban regrouped and resurged.

This week, the U.S. president announced that some troops would be withdrawn from Iraq; some of them would wind up in Afghanistan. In all, President Bush authorized the deployment of four and a half thousand troops there.

We speak to photographer Tim Hetherington, who first went to Afghanistan shortly after the conflict began and was there most recently earlier this year. His photographs are featured in this month's Vanity Fair and he came into the studio recently to talk to us about them and his view of the conflict.

And finally, who's watching you when you're watching the news? Not Big Brother necessarily, but the Pew Research Center has been interested in finding out WHERE you watch your news. Is it on TV, the Internet, radio or from newspapers? If you want to know more (the results are somewhat surprising) then join us to find out.

September 4, 2008

It's the U.S. party convention month and this week saw the Republicans hold their gathering in St Paul, Minnesota. Hurricane Gustav threatened to overshadow the Convention but the nomination of Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska as John McCain's running mate took the limelight; not least the revelations that her 17-year-old daughter was five months' pregnant. One of the more interesting aspects of this from a media viewpoint was that the story broke, not in the mainstream press but on the Internet.

Several bloggers alluded to the fact the Bristol Palin might be with child and it was left to the Republican Party hierarchy and Sarah Palin to confirm the news to the world. How did the mainstream media react to the rumors on the Internet? At what point did they run with the story? And to what extent does the Internet and -- specifically bloggers -- shape how our news comes to us? To talk about this and to compare this week's Convention with last week's Democratic gathering in Denver, Colorado, I speak to Jonathan Mann who attended both conventions for CNN. And since it is well and truly the Internet age, I also look to Daniel Libit of for his view on how the Palin story broke.

A harrowing tale from Darfur. Much has been written about what has taken place in the last few years in a region of Sudan that is roughly the size of France. The story has received much coverage in the international press but few reportages are as compelling and informative as when they include the experiences of an individual. In this case, "Tears of the Desert" gives a firsthand, harrowing account of the life of one young woman from a remote village in Darfur who overcame hardships to become a doctor and then found herself the victim of gang rape and a conflict which resulted in the deaths of members of her family, including her beloved father. Journalist Damien Lewis traveled to Sudan and, while listening to the story of an eight-year-old girl who had been gang raped, decided that the best way to convey the horrors of Darfur would be to find an adult in Britain who would be willing to share his or her experiences. His quest led him to Halima Bashir and with her he co-authored "Tears of the Desert." I spoke to both of them in studio; Halima is veiled throughout, partly because of security concerns.

And finally, while Gustav failed to wreak the havoc of Katrina in 2005, it nonetheless packed a punch, causing some deaths and the evacuation of New Orleans. While most were heading out of town away from danger, CNN reporters and others were heading towards the storm in their bid to truly cover the story firsthand. We take a look behind the scenes at the difficulties they faced and the challenges they surmounted.

August 29, 2008

This week was one of the more pivotal weeks in the U.S. presidential election campaign. The Democratic National Convention kicked off in Denver, Colorado with all the hoopla and drama one might have expected. Would Hillary fully endorse Barack Obama? Would her husband do the same? Well, after their respective speeches, the organizers could have been forgiven for heaving a sigh of relief. Or could they? How much of the convention was scripted and staged with the Democratic powers-that-be knowing full well what the Clintons were likely to say? Just how much, if anything was left open for improvisation? And how much of an actual story was there in the end for journalists to sniff out?

We speak to CNN's Deputy Political Director, Paul Steinhauser who has covered more conventions than he would almost care to remember. He tells us about the atmosphere, the incredible security and about how new technology is changing the way journalists cover the story. We also speak to an international journalist at the DNC. Laura Haim is the U.S. correspondent for CANAL+. She, too, has covered many conventions and has a lot to say about how the foreign media are treated by the organizers; particularly by the Obama camp.

Also on the program, the escalating tensions between Russia and the West. Precipitated by the recent conflict in Georgia, the war of words between both sides shows no sign of abating. Nor does the media war. Some argue that while Georgia lost the military war, Tblisi won the public relations battle. At the outset of the conflict, some say Russia didn't care what the West thought about its actions but belatedly, towards the end of the hostilities, began providing the international media with a pool of representatives from the various government ministries involved.

Fast forward to this past week and the announcement that Moscow was recognizing the breakway Gerogian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossestia. The Russians were somewhat faster out of the media gate this time, giving interviews to a select few international media, of which CNN was one. First, President Dmitry Medvedev gave CNN's Senior International Correspondent an interview and then a few days later, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made himself available. Quite a scoop considering the Kremlin's hitherto, at best, ambivalent attitude toward the international media. We talk to Matthew Chance about what it's like generally being a foreign correspondent based in Moscow and about his reflections on the Georgian conflict.

Fidel Castro hasn't been seen in public for quite some time. The former Cuban President is still making himself heard though and not via a weekly radio address but via the Internet. Yes, the octogenarian revolutionary has begun a blog on the web where he expounds his political theories and views on anything and everything. Problem is, few in Cuba can read it on the Internet as access is severely restricted and those who can (in the state newspapers where it's reprinted) aren't apparently interested in what Mr. Castro has say. So, we talk to CNN's Havana Bureau Chief Norgan Neill and ask him what it's all about.

August 23, 2008

The conflict in Georgia headlines our program this week: specifically, the high death toll of journalists during the first few days of this short-lived war. We ask whether it is the beginning of a new kind of warfare for journalists, two of whom were Georgian and killed while filming.

They were not the only ones to come under fire from what some say were renegade militias, not always sober. We speak to CNN correspondent Cal Perry, a veteran of Baghdad and, at the time of writing, in Madrid to cover the dreadful plane crash there. He was in Georgia during the war and tells of the difficulties of getting around and through Russian checkpoints. In the studio, Rodney Pinder of the International News Safety Institute says he believes this is, indeed, a new kind of warfare for journalists by warring sides who in some cases do not want journalists to get the story out. However, each side in a war, Pinder says, has a vested interest in getting its story told. He compares the dangers of covering Georgia to Iraq where U.S. soldiers demonstrated a degree of responsibility to protecting news workers.

"'Tortured Truth" is a new documentary made by film-maker Christine Garabedian. Her subject is a safe house in Paris that has become home to several journalists forced to go into exile from their home countries. The Lebanese-born Garabedian joins us in the studio to discuss what prompted her to make the film about the inhabitants of "La Maison de Journalistes" and their tales of torture, incarceration, exile and in some cases, murder.

And as the Olympics draw to a close, we look at the games from the perspective of sports reporters rather than focusing, as we have in the recent past, on China's relationship with the news media. CNN's Larry Smith has been in Beijing; this is the fourth Olympics he has covered. He tells us this has been almost a flawless games in terms of organization.

Smith also shares with us his experiences of being out and about in the Chinese capital and being greeted by amazed Chinese nationals who had never seen a man with brown skin before and assumed he was an athlete. Pedro Pinto, our London-based sports correspondent, looks at the Olympics from the perspective of the London Organizing Committee for 2012 and the challenges they face following the "spectacular" games of Beijing. We ask what makes any Olympic Games a success: the city's organizational skills or the number of world records broken.

August 15, 2008

Events in Georgia eclipsed the Olympics this week in the news despite the incredible opening ceremony and the subsequent revelations of a certain duplicity on the part of the Chinese in relation to that display.

Before the weekend was out, it was apparent that while Russia had won the military battle, Georgia had won the PR offensive. Television pictures of a huge rally in the Georgian capital, Tblisi on Tuesday night were broadcast to a production level astonishing for a country at war. That, coupled with regular news conferences and appearances on international television, including CNN, of the country's beleagured President, served to highlight Georgia's predicament and underscore its message to the world. Later in the week, the Russian media arm of the Kremlin seemed to take note and by week's end, plenty of government officials and uniformed officers were on air. Indeed, Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin strode to the podium Thursday evening to denounce what he called a propaganda war.

This week, we talk to CNN's Jill Dougherty, of late based in Washington but a longtime CNN bureau chief in Moscow. She flew to Russia when this crisis erupted and gives the view from there internally, as well as Moscow's view of how it feels it's been treated in foreign media. In the studio, Richard Beeston, Foreign Editor of The Times of London joins us to give his take on the international media's reaction to the outbreak of hostilities. Andrew Purvis, TIME Bureau Chief in Berlin, tells us how it is from the Georgian capital, Tblisi.

This past week, the Israeli Defence Forces released the findings of its investigation in the killing of a Reuters cameraman in Gaza in April. Fadel Shana's final video footage shows an Israeli tank firing a shell in his direction before the video cuts out; Shana had been targetted by the shell and was killed instantly. The Israeli army's top prosecutor found troops acted properly when they opened fire, suspecting the camerman was a militant preparing to fire a missile after setting up his tripod. The tank crew, according to a letter from the Israeli military to Reuters, had been unable to identify the object on the tripod as an anti-tank missile, a mortar or a television camera. Reuters' reaction was one of "disappointment and dissatisfaction." We're joined from Jerusalem by Alastair Macdonald, Bureau Chief for Israel and the Palestinian Territories and from Tel Aviv by Colonel Daniel Reizner, former Head of the International Law Department in the IDF.

The Olympics may have been overshadowed somewhat by Georgia but nonetheless, it made news and not just for its sporting events. Journalists waited eagerly to see whether they would be able to work unhindered by the Chinese authorities. As protests took place on the sidelines of the Games and journalists tried to cover the demonstrations, one British TV correspondent found himself the focus of unwanted and unwarranted police attention. John Ray was arrested when he was mistaken for an activist. Taken away, under protest, he was briefly detained and afterwards joined Becky Anderson from Beijing to talk about his experience. The Olympics, accompanied by intense press attention, continue and will no doubt feature in next week's International Correspondents. Until then.

August 8, 2008

The Olympics are underway and it's China's biggest party since 1949. Up to thirty-thousand foreign media representatives are there to cover every second of the next three weeks, be it sporting or non-sporting.

The emphasis in the run up to the Games has been the global torch relay with the accompanying protests, mainly about Tibet.

Recent days have seen journalists arrested and greater restrictions placed on the media in and around Beijing; among them the new regulation that a pass be required to film on Tiananmen Square. We talk to our correspondent, Anjali Rao who sets the scene for us in Beijing -- describing what it's like to work in and around the authorities.

Then we speak to a panel of journalists about what is at stake for both the media and China. John Sweeney of the BBC's Panorama program recently went to China and tested just how open the authorities are to foreign media coverage.

His experience was that while the Chinese people were "great," the authorities had much to learn about free and open access. Bingchuan Meng, a media lecturer at the London School of Economics, tries to unravel the complexities of China's thinking for us and Mike Chinoy, former Beijing Bureau Chief and now a Senior Fellow at the Pacific Council, joins us from New York to tell us why he thinks there will be a clash between the old and the new over the next three weeks.

And now for something completely different; the Brangelina twins. The first official photos of the newborn twins were sold to Hello! magazine and People magazine for many millions of dollars. Phil Black looks at the hype and what could be the latest baby boom.

August 1, 2008

Five years after the invasion of Iraq comes a major four-part drama on Saddam Hussein. Made by the BBC and HBO "House of Saddam" looks at the man, his rise to power, his talents, brutality and demise; all fueled by paranoia and a craving for absolute power.

It paints a picture of a complicated man, described by one of the show's consultants as a 20th century leader with 17th century tribal inclinations. A writer and co-director of 'House of Saddam', Alex Holmes initially wanted to do a drama on Fallujah and what transpired there in the aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion only to find himself becoming increasingly fascinated by the former dictator.

We speak to Alex Holmes who initially worked as a journalist before turning his skills to scriptwriting and ultimately, directing. He talks about the challenges of capturing the brutal deeds that transpired under Saddam's rule and adapting Saddam's life for screen, all the while staying close to the truth.

The search for veracity led him, for example, to the lawyer for Tariq Aziz, at that time in jail and in failing health, to confirm incidents and verify certain details.

The cast is an international one, including perhaps most notably an Israeli actor born in Baghdad, playing the role of Saddam.

The drama begins with President Bush's television address to the American people, telling them the time has come for Saddam to be removed. It depicts a man, Saddam, who is incredibly complicated and trusting of no-one, whose rule -- and ultimate downfall -- has left its mark not only on the 20th century but also, it would seem, well into the 21st.

Also on this week's program, a picture tells a thousand words and why the U.S. military may not like it. We speak to Michael Kamber who this week writes in the New York Times about how the military's regulations for photojournalists embedded in Iraq seem to have been tightened in recent years, to the point where some photojournalists have been expelled from embed situations with troops because of photos they have taken.

The U.S. military does not allow the use of photos that might give away "any tactics, techniques and procedures witnessed during operations" or that "provides information on effectiveness of enemy technique." Fair enough, one might think but Michael Kamber believes these guidelines are being interpreted differently on the ground in 2008 compared to a few years ago.

Kamber, himself has experienced firsthand how photos he has taken on assignment with U.S. troops have been queried and in some cases been withheld from publication. He joins us from Baghdad where he has been based for the last 16 months. We discuss how the military believes the regulations are a guideline and how often individual commanders on the ground make decisions based on what is taking place there and then.

July 25, 2008

The arrest earlier in the week of Radovan Karadzic in Belgrade caught everyone by surprise. Wanted by the International Criminal Court, Karadzic had spent almost 13 years on the run, evading his captors time and time again.

But if his arrest was a surprise, it was nothing compared to the astonishment which greeted his appearance; reinventing himself as a Santa Claus-type practitioner of alternative medicine.

The Western media was largely universal in its condemnation of the psychiatrist turned warlord and his subsequent detention. But how did the media in Serbia respond to Karadzic's arrest and what does the timing say about the state of relations within and beyond that country about the war?

This week, Milica Pesic joins us from Belgrade to give her thoughts on what has transpired in Serbia and how it has resonated across the media and the region. She tells us how the Belgrade-based media has focused on the human interest aspect of this story; focusing on Karadzic himself as opposed to gauging the reaction in Sarajevo.

Mark Austin of Britain's ITV News literally stepped off the plane from Sarajevo to join us in the studio. He covered the war in the 1990s and returned there this week to assess the reaction to Karadzic's capture. He tells us how Serbs in Pale feel the International Criminal Court in The Hague is, in their view, weighted against Serbs and how Bosnians feel a quiet satisfaction at his arrest.

This week, Barack Obama made a long awaited international trip. While not officially overseas as a candidate for the Presidency of the United States; nonetheless, it was impossible to forget that fact as Senator Obama made his way from Afghanistan to Iraq, across the Middle East to Europe.

This had been billed as a crucial, almost make-or-break attempt to show the 46-year-old senator has what it takes to be U.S. commander-in-chief. The media and specifically the U.S. media royalty, followed him as he wound his way from and back to the United States -- his every appearance and utterance ever so carefully choreographed by his campaign team.

Would it backfire? Was he being too presidential? Was the media giving him an unfair advantage over his rival, Senator John McCain? Yes, cried the McCain camp. No, said others who asserted Obama was genuinely making news with this trip. To discuss, we invited Chris Lockwood, U.S. editor of the Economist and well-traveled guest on this program and from Washington, Howard Kurtz, media commentator with the Washington Post and host of CNN's Reliable Sources.

In Britain, a blow struck for privacy in the media? That was the debate after Formula 1 Racing boss, Max Mosely successfully prosecuted the News of the World over an article and video which showed him cavorting with five prostitutes in an orgy. The High Court judge agreed with Mosely that the sex was private and consensual, saying he found no evidence of a Nazi theme which had been claimed by the newspaper. He also ordered the Sunday tabloid to pay $120,000 in costs as well as legal costs which could come close to $2 million. But no punitive or exemplary damages were awarded.

And, finally, rivalries and jealousies are not unknown in any business but a recent episode in a U.S. newsroom surely takes the biscuit. Two news anchors were caught up in an email hacking scandal which ended up in court. Watch to find how it all happened.

July 18, 2008

A mixed bag this week from this week's controversial (some ask why?) New Yorker cover to reporting from Myanmar to the bidding war over the first pictures of the Jolie-Pitt twins.

First the New Yorker; the cover depicts what the editors describe as a satirical take on some of the allegations surrounding the Obamas. It caused a furor in the United Sates. The Obama campaign was quick to deride it as was the McCain camp. Obama himself declined to comment at first, literally shrugging it off. But later on Larry King Live, he somewhat downplayed it, certainly when compared to the initial response from his campaign officials.

We talk to Britain's Daily Telegraph Washington Correspondent, Toby Harnden who is firmly in the 'what's the fuss about?' camp and Rachel Sklar in New York of the Huffington Post. She, personally, doesn't mind the fuss but can see why it caused such headlines.

We broaden the discussion out to ask about the impact Obama is having on the incorrigible talk show hosts of American television and the fact that in this presidential campaign season, the vast majority of them are shying away from lampooning Obama.

It has been two and a half months since the devastating cyclone which shook Myanmar. Details are still hard to come by; foreign journalists are still not allowed into the country. CNN's Dan Rivers ran the gauntlet of the Myanmar security services when he tried to visit the hardest hit area, the Irrawaddy Delta, immediately after the cyclone. So much so, in fact, that he had to leave for fear of imprisonment; not only his own but of his local colleagues who had helped him get around at great personal danger to themselves. In fact, even on the plane as he waited for takeoff, Dan couldn't relax as he was hauled off by officials and taken for questioning, only to be allowed to once again board the plane albeit with his passport stamped with the word 'DEPORTED'.

Now, CNN's Betty Ngyuen has ventured into the secretive country, to see for herself what, if anything has been done to help those affected. Hers is a harrowing tale, of continually dodging Myanmar security, of working under the cover of darkness for fear of being caught only to arrive in the Irrawaddy Delta to discover rotting bodies floating in the water...even now. Betty joins us from Thailand where she talks of the willingness of the local Myanmar people to talk about their plight, the almost complete absence of aid in the region and of the difficulty of being able to return there now that her reports have aired.

I said at the outset this week was a mixed bag and the birth of the Jolie-Pitt twins merely adds to the mix. The bidding to publish the first photos of the newborns has been high, with the money raised from the sale going to charity.

Celebrity PR guru Max Clifford joins us. A legend in Britain, he has been behind some of the biggest tabloid scoops and has represented some of the world's major figures. He's joined from Paris by Sandra Salazar of Voici Magazine, a celebrity publication. Voici had a reporter in and around the hospital in Nice before the birth.

We ask what can be reported when faced with a media operation as tightly controlled as the Jolie-Pitts'. We query whether this media phenomenon could have happened ten years ago and ask how this Hollywood couple manages to manage the media better than almost anyone else.

July 11, 2008

International Correspondents isn't often dominated by business and finance but this week with the economic downturn dominating the news almost every day, we have decided to look at journalists and their coverage of recent economic events. Is it as bad as it seems? Or is the media giving an accurate portrayal of events?

We speak to CNN's Financial Editor, Todd Benjamin who argues that while the situation is bad, some individual media outlets have been portraying a less than accurate picture of the situation.

Jon Hilsenrath, Markets Editor with the Wall Street Journal, joins us from New York where he makes the case that the downturn in the economy is a Western slump while Asia and the Middle East are booming. However, the Capital Markets Editor with The Economist, Philip Coggan, says that while the emerging markets are booming they are also suffering high inflation; something Western economies experienced 20 and 30 years ago and learnt to curtail.

How much do we really know about what is going on the global economy? Do media outlets in individual countries become slightly jingoistic by blaming other markets and is there any agreement among our journalistic colleagues about how serious the situation is and how long it might last? Join us to find out.

We're less than a month from the Beijing Olympics; an event long anticipated and somewhat shrouded in controversy. China's government has relaxed media restrictions of late. We saw that in the recent earthquake, only to find the limits reinstated to a certain extent once the initial shock and news headlines had passed. Some argue the genie is out of the bottle and that Chinese journalists will push for more and more liberties.

That remains to be seen but this week, the Chinese authorities opened the door, literally, to the main Olympic Press Center; a huge media complex which will be a temporary home for thousands of journalists covering the Olympic Games. CNN's Emily Chang takes us on a tour.

And, he's made his name and his fortune from his work as a photographer. But Mr. Paparazzi, as he's known, didn't start out as a celebrity snapper. An Australian who spent his first night in London sleeping on the floor of a pub in north London, Darryn Lyons now has his own photo agency and website, using the services of some one thousand photographers. Some of his photos are instantly recognizable from the heyday of the good times of the 90s.

I ask him whether the paparazzi and the plethora of celebrity magazines have contributed to the detriment or betterment of society. And whether, in the wake of the current economic downturn the public may no longer have an appetite for the goings on of others, wealthier than themselves. He says people will always want a distraction from the dullness of their lives. A colorful character, literally, he tells us how Rupert Murdoch gave him his first break which soon saw him in Bosnia covering the war. He was on his way.

July 4, 2008

Becky Anderson is at the helm this week. From Zimbabwe to Egypt, Robert Mugabe stole the show at the African Union summit in Sharm el Sheik.

His appearance was certainly controversial given it came a day after he was inaugurated as President. This week we ask what will the future hold for the media in Zimbabwe.

Journalists inside the country have reported that the freedom of the media has slowly been eroded and journalists living in exile trying to get the message to people in Zimbabwe say their attempt to disseminate news have been obstructed.

Take Wilf Mbanga from "The Zimbabwean" publication. He tells us that import duties have shot up and there have been attempts to stop the deliveries of his newspaper in Zimbabwe. Wilf joins us on the show along with Sunday Times correspondent, Christina Lamb. She has reported extensively from and on Zimbabwe and is the author of the book, "House Of Stone. The True Story of a Family Divided in War-Torn Zimbabwe."

The rescue of Ingrid Betancourt from the jungles of South America was always going to be big news and it generated headlines around the world. No more so than in France and the country was preparing to welcome home the French-Colombian citizen. We look at how the French media has covered the story. Christian Malard from France 3 TV helps us put it all into perspective.

Plus, we also take a look at life through the lens in Afghanistan. Seamus Murphy first traveled to the country in 1994 and has been back several times. Whilst there he photographed the effects of the Taliban, years of civil war, and the elections that took place after the regime fell. We have a look at a selection of images contained in Seamus Murphy's new book "A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan." They also form part of an exhibition at London's Asia House gallery.

-- From Matt Cargill, International Correspondents Producer

June 27, 2008

This week, it's Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe.

As the Presidential runoff election takes place and the international chorus of condemnation of Robert Mugabe's regime grows louder, we ask how much more difficult has it become for journalists in Zimbabwe to do their job.

A new report from the Committee to Protect Journalists highlights the dangers facing reporters and newsgatherers in the country, saying President Robert Mugabe and his regime have "unleashed the harshest media crackdown in their notoriously repressive tenure."

We speak to the report's author, Tom Rhodes, in New York who commends the people of Zimbabwe for their undiminished appetite for news, no matter how difficult to come by. According to his report, police have been arresting journalists throughout the runoff election period, charging them with laws that do not exist on the statute books.

Also with us in the studio is Bill Saidi, deputy editor of the Zimbabwe Standard. He tells of the intimidation faced by journalists on his weekly newspaper and of the challenge of gathering the news when journalists, afraid for their lives, understandably decline to cover an aspect of the story.

Saidi says the Internet is playing a huge part, with people going online and then using mobile phones to text their friends to tell them what is taking place in various parts of Zimbabwe. He and Tom Rhodes are joined in the studio by Rashweat Mukundu, the Director of the Media Institute of Southern Africa in Zimbabwe. He tells us about Operation Take Down Your Satellite Dish, initiated by the Mugabe regime in a bid to deprive the population (not to mention the police and the army) of international news outlets telling them what is going on in their country as well as the international reaction overseas.

One year on, and Gordon Brown must sometimes wish he had never become Britain's Prime Minister. Increasingly flagging in the opinion polls and amid a clutch of bad news events, as well as the slowdown in the world economy, there are those who wonder whether Brown will survive to serve a full term as PM before the next elections. To that end, we ask whether he is merely the victim of circumstance and perceived indecisiveness or to what extent the British media has played a role in his low standing. Tom Bradby, Political Editor of ITV Television is joined in studio by his opposite number, Andrew Porter, from Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper to debate the Brown Premiership on its first anniversary.

And Euro 2008 is drawing to a close. The soccer tournament that promised "emotions" has produced some great football in the two host countries, Switzerland and Austria. We ask whether the beautiful game is still beautiful to a seasoned journalist who's seen many, many championships and even more matches in his lifetime. We also ask how easy it is to cover a tournament held in two different countries and how the facilities for journalists compare to those of other championships. We're joined from Vienna by Keir Radnedge of World Soccer Magazine, an Englishman who tells us why the tournament organizers and security aren't particularly lamenting the absence of his mother country from the championships.

Til next time.

June 20, 2008

We have a very special guest on this week's show. CBS News Correspondent, Kimberly Dozier was almost killed in a car bombing in Baghdad in May 2006. She had gone out on a story with the U.S. Army, who were following up on a bomb explosion the previous day. As they began questioning locals, a huge bomb exploded nearby. Dozier was seriously injured; she was given a 50-50 chance of living. Her cameraman and soundman were killed as well as an American Army captain and the Iraqi translator.

The story made big news at the time, partly because it involved a journalist who happened to be a woman. Two years later, Dozier has just published her account of what happened that day, detailing her near-death experience, her recovery, which involved multiple operations, and her doctors' almost certain conviction that should she survive, it would almost certainly be without her legs.

Ms Dozier defied the odds and survived with all limbs intact. Her book is a harrowing yet eye-opening account of the nature of the story in Iraq two years ago, the work of the U.S. army with journalists covering the news there, the incredible medical advancements made in treating blast victims (unfortunately due to the war) and Dozier's own battle against physical injury, trauma and above all, guilt: the guilt at knowing she had survived and that her colleagues and others had not. She faces questions about whether she should have gone on the story that May morning and whether some colleagues and family members, of both her crew and the Army who died that day, blame her for their deaths or resent her for surviving.

Just seven weeks now to the opening of the Beijing Olympic Games. Thirty thousand journalists are expected to cover the event and questions abound as to whether they will be able to report freely. We talk to two London-based Chinese journalists, Jenny Zhong of Phoenix Satellite TV and Nan Lin, of the EU Chinese Journal. They tell us why they think China gets a raw deal in the Western press, saying that the coverage in particular of the Olympic torch relay, has been unfair. They also talk about why they believe Chinese media is opening up, thanks to the Internet and its impact on China's society. We ask whether journalists covering the Olympics can expect to be allowed to work unhindered.

Enjoy the show.

June 13, 2008

This week's International Correspondents begins with an interview with a journalist whose interest in Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe stems from more than 30 years ago.

Heidi Holland first met Mugabe in 1975 when he came for dinner at her home while on the run. She had no idea who the dinner guest would be, knowing only that a clandestine meeting at her house was being arranged. She interviewed Mugabe last December.

Holland's view is that in order for the international community to best deal with Mugabe, they should know more about the man himself, his origins and his motives. And as the octogenarian ruler moves towards a new round of Presidential elections in less than two weeks, we discuss just how far he might go to ensure victory.

The program may be called International Correspondents, yet the role of any correspondent overseas would be greatly impeded if it were not for the "fixer." Anyone who has ever landed in a foreign land without contacts, language, even a visa will hold the fixer all the more dearly to their heart.

Often local, working in extremely dangerous situations, the fixer has few of the benefits open to his journalistic counterpart and has the obligation to remain behind long after the reporter has flown back to his/her own country. That in itself can present the fixer with a dilemma as his face is remembered by the locals, often incurring great wrath and extreme personal danger.

Phil Cox, whose work in Darfur some years ago first highlighted the situation there, tells us of his dependence on the fixer wherever in the world he may be. He's joined by Tina Carr of the Rory Peck Trust whose role is to help protect the freelance news gatherer.

And finally to France. Headlines were made this week when it was reported that an anchor legend on TV channel TF1 was being replaced by a younger, female version, allegedly close to President Nicholas Sarkozy.

The President's relationship with the French media has long been the subject of speculation; this latest rumor merely fueled the discussion about the role of media and the state in France. We speak to Alison Smale, Managing Editor of the International Herald Tribune in Paris about it.

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