Nicholas Jones - Blog and Archive Website

Turkey's negotiations over possible membership of the European Union have triggered yet more scare stories in the British newspapers. In a speech at an EU seminar at Gaziantep in south-east Anatolia (28.3.2008), Nicholas Jones said the role played by the British press had important lessons for Turkish journalists at a time when much of their reporting was having to focus on divisive issues such as the debate over the wearing of head scarves and the lack of freedom of expression. Jones said he supported the demands by journalists in south-east Turkey for a greater awareness by the European Union of the news media's needs and more action to improve the flow of information about the potential implications of Turkey's possible accession. He gave his assessment of the hidden agendas of British media companies and the role of scare stories.

 

Struggling to find stories when their Parliament is being boycotted by the opposition is just one of the problems facing the political journalists of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Lack of effective recognition by the European Union and isolation from the international community has already made life tough for the local news media so a political stalemate in the legislative assembly has only added to the difficulties for reporters.

Despite hard times for the local economy, the 200,000-strong population of Northern Cyprus is served by as many as ten daily newspapers. Most are subsidised by the competing political parties so this does ensure a wide spread of views and opinion.

But much of the parliamentary coverage is limited to reproducing the copy provided by the Turkish news agency TAK and the aim of a seminar, held in Nicosia (November 20-21, 2007), was to encourage more investigative and campaigning journalism.

Vilnius, September 2006  

Buying drugs and getting arrested was not quite what I had in mind when I agreed to spend the week as the visiting guru for a group of would-be journalists on a reality television programme in Lithuania.

But once I sensed the editors and producers of LNK were ready to confront the police I knew I had to help.

As a former BBC correspondent, I realised I might have some clout. After all I had a reputation to defend having once been admonished by the BBC’s controller of editorial policy for having become "excitable and untrustworthy."

Vilnius, September 2006 

Former BBC correspondent Nicholas Jones reports on how taking part in a Lithuanian television reality show to find future journalists provided some unexpected footage. After he volunteered to be secretly filmed buying some drugs, Jones was taken into custody by armed police with a camera crew in hot pursuit.

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Little did I think when I entered Lithuania’s Big Brother house for would-be journalists that I would end up getting arrested and spend three hours in a Vilnius police station. This was a television reality show with a difference, a Pop Idol style contest in which contestants prepare reports on stories which viewers suggestilnius.