BBC Panorama As Propaganda? Controversy over Saving Syria’s Children

Good piece from Tim Hayward, Professor of Environmental Political Theory, Edinburgh University.

I would note only that the BBC addressed the issue of the editing of Dr Hallam’s words in this response in December 2013 (paragraph 9 onwards): https://bbcpanoramasavingsyriaschildren.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/bbc-response-to-first-letter-of-complaint-2-december-2013/

My opinion on the matter is here: https://cultureandpolitics.org/2015/09/12/is-the-bbcs-ian-pannell-complicit-in-crude-anti-syrian-propaganda/#comment-505

Tim Hayward

Propaganda is not easy to define. Nor can we always straightforwardly identify cases of it.[1] But we can distinguish propaganda as a category of activity from that of journalism.

There is some functional overlap, of course, since both activities involve communicating topical material as compellingly as possible. Similarities can be bracketed, though, as they can when distinguishing, say, an ambulance from a tank.

In principle the difference is clear. A journalist starts the day with a blank notepad and goes out to investigate what has been going on; she comes back with a report that she could not have anticipated producing at daybreak. A propagandist, by contrast, starts the day with a message that has to be conveyed and his task is to produce a report that most persuasively conveys that message.

Whatever overlap there may be in practice between these two kinds of activity, the categorical distinction itself…

View original post 1,300 more words

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