19th March 2010, 9:48am
Former war reporter Martin Bell talks of battles facing today's journalists
Celebrated war reporter Martin Bell OBE Celebrated war reporter and anti-sleaze campaigner Martin Bell OBE gave his perspective on the condition of the nation's media in a talk at the University of Lincoln.

Mr Bell, now an ambassador for UNICEF, spoke to students in the Lincoln School of Journalism about worrying trends in the journalism industry - from the dangers now facing foreign correspondents attempting to report objectively from warzones, to the news values of editors more concerned with celebrity gossip than humanitarian disasters.

On the question of whether the national media are now overly obsessed with celebrity, Mr Bell said: "I find it rather sad that we've taken our eye off the ball. We live in the most dangerous times I can remember. There are waves of refugees flooding across borders in Africa, there is nuclear proliferation, child suicide bombers, piracy at sea - and our journalists worry about Katie Price and Peter Andre."

However, he did offer words of optimism, praising the efforts of journalists covering the conflict in Afghanistan, and discussing the liberating effect of the Internet and the role social media can play in highlighting to the world events happening behind the borders actions of oppressive regimes.

Mr Bell said: "It's very difficult now for tyrannies to seal their borders. A lot of dissidence is now expressed through the Internet in ways that were not available 10 years ago."

He also defended his decision to testify at the war crimes trial of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic (see: http://experts.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk).
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