Friday 11 September 2009

Quotes of the Week

New York Times journalist Stephen Farrell on his rescue from the Taliban, in which a British soldier and the Afghan journalist and translator Sultan Munadi were killed: "It was over. Sultan was dead. He had died trying to help me, right up to the very last seconds of his life. There were some celebrations among the mainly British soldiers on the aircraft home, which soon fell silent. It later emerged that one of the rescue party was also dead, mortally wounded during the raid. His blood-soaked helmet was in front of me throughout the flight. I thanked everyone who was still alive to thank. It wasn’t, and never will be, enough."

New York Times chief foreign correspondent John Burns: ""We have to go out of our compounds to experience the conflict at first hand if our reporting is not to quickly descend into “hotel journalism.” Some of that, indeed much of it, has been done on embeds, where our protection comes from the military units we cover. But an essential part, too, comes from going in search of the war that embeds don’t reach – the “other side” of the war, often enough; the war as it is experienced by ordinary Iraqis and Afghans, the civilians who have done most of the dying.That was what Stephen Farrell was doing when he and Sultan set out on Saturday for the site of the fuel-tanker bombing south of Kunduz. "

MP Denis MacShane on BBC inviting BNP leader Nick Griffin on Question Time: "This is not about democracy but about the BBC losing its sense of moral balance and editorial integrity. The BBC, rather than the Daily Mirror and Searchlight, should be exposing Griffin – not boosting his insatiable ego."

BBC chief political adviser Ric Bailey: "But it's not fear of the lawyers or lobbying from the BNP themselves which would prompt an invitation to Nick Griffin. Impartiality is at the core of the BBC's journalism and this is a normal part of the process of constantly asking ourselves how we should be defining that impartiality in a changing political environment."

BBC Tust chairman Sir Michael Lyons on top-slicing the licence fee: "This would weaken the BBC; threaten its independence; reduce accountability to licence fee payers and could in time lead to a bigger licence fee because it could merge with general taxation and be used for causes that have nothing to do with broadcasting."

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