The Great Debate UK

A social media vox populi experiment

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IMG01877-20100318-1751The BBC World Service tested its capacity to produce large-scale social media events by hosting an ambitious global conversation in multiple languages from Shoreditch Town Hall in London on Thursday.

For the six-hour event, billed as “Superpower Nation Day“, the public broadcaster used television, radio and the Web to connect with people around the world.

Contributors answered the question “Is the Internet a right or a luxury? by typing into a social media platform that used Google’s translating tool to interpret comments.

Other events included live music and a reading of scenes from William Shakespeare’s play “Romeo and Juliet” in multiple languages.

Rory Cellan-Jones on virtual democracy

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Direct, real-time communication among politicians and the public through social media platforms is reshaping democracy and the news media, but questions remain about how the fabric of society might change as a result, argued a panel at an event hosted by the BBC on Tuesday evening at Westminster.

The Web provides a de-centralised opportunity for users to communicate from various points on the political-economic spectrum, but gatekeepers are emerging who try and curtail the dissemination of information they find objectionable, suggested panellist Aleks Krotoski, who recently completed work on the BBC series “Virtual Revolution“.

In defence of the BBC

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cathcart- Brian Cathcart is professor of journalism at Kingston University and was specialist adviser to the Select Committee inquiry. The opinions expressed are his own.-

One problem with the current debate about the BBC is that it is being held on too low a level, so the result is likely to be needless petty miseries.

from UK News:

Remembering the dead – or “poppy fascism”?

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poppyThis week, hundreds of thousands of people will join the annual act of remembrance to commemorate those who have died in war, proudly wearing a poppy to honour the fallen.

However the simple flower emblem, which has been used since shortly after the end of World War One as it was the only thing to grow on the devastated battlefields of Belgium and northern France, has once again become an issue in itself.

from UK News:

Should BNP be on Question Time?

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Nick GriffinOn Thursday night, BNP leader Nick Griffin will appear on the BBC's leading current affairs programme "Question Time", an appearance that has provoked much anger and debate.

Griffin is no stranger to the airwaves or TV screens, regularly appearing this week alone after four leading former generals attacked his party for using military imagery as part of its campaigning

from UK News:

Should the BNP be able to use military imagery?

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griffinThis is a busy week for the British National Party (BNP).

Today it was warned to stop using military imagery in its campaign material. A group of former military leaders accused the BNP, which has used photographs of spitfire fighter planes and Winston Churchill, of hijacking Britain's history for their own "dubious ends."

The distinguished generals said this tarnished the reputation of the armed forces and called on them to "cease and desist."

British broadcasting deserves better than Murdoch attack

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barnett- Steven Barnett is professor of communications at the University of Westminster, and a writer and commentator on broadcasting issues. He is finishing writing a book “Just Wires and Lights? The Rise and Fall of Television Journalism” that will published by Sage in 2010. The opinions expressed are his own. -

I was in the audience for Murdoch senior’s MacTaggart lecture 20 years ago, and was shocked –- as were many others –- by the ignorance and shallowness of his analysis. It wasn’t just the blatant self-interest of promoting his newly launched Sky channels; it was the sheer incomprehension of British television’s achievements in broadcast journalism compared to its manifest failure in the United States. Murdoch senior pretended it was the other way round, a strange distortion of the empirical evidence.

Bagram: Where the future of Guantanamo meets its tortuous past

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Moazzam Begg- Moazzam Begg is Director for the British organisation, Cageprisoners. The opinions expressed are his own. -

Little seems to have changed regarding the treatment of prisoners held at the U.S. military-run Bagram prison since I was there (2002-2004). The recent study conducted by the BBC shows allegations of sleep deprivation, stress positions, beatings, degrading treatment, religious and racial abuse have gone unabated. On a personal level though, I can’t help wonder if British intelligence services are still involved.

from UK News:

BBC – taking a stand on Gaza

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The BBC has been roundly condemned at home for its refusal to broadcast an emergency appeal for Gaza on behalf of the Disasters Emergency Committee, a coalition of 13 aid agencies.

It says it does not want to be seen to be taking sides in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute and that broadcasting the appeal could jeopardise its carefully cultivated position of impartiality. Sky News has followed suit.

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