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tv   The Media Show  BBC News  April 17, 2022 5:30am-6:01am BST

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this is bbc news, the headlines: russia says its troops have completely cleared ukrainian forces from the besieged and heavily bombarded city of mariupol after weeks of intense fighting, apart from one location. president volodymyr zelensky has warned peace talks with russia would come to a halt if the remaining troops in mariupol were killed. the mayor of kyiv has told people who've fled the ukrainian capital not to return yet. vitali klitschko warned of further russian missile attacks in northern parts of the city. he said at least one person had been killed and several others were wounded in strikes early on saturday. the authorities in south africa say the number of people known to have died in devastating floods in kwazulu—natal province has risen to 398, with 27 people still reported as missing.
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rescue operations have been taking place but further flooding is possible as rain falls on saturated ground. now on bbc news — the media show. hello. unless you've been hiding away somewhere, you can't have failed to notice the row that's blown up over the government's proposed privatisation of channel 4. we're going to get the latest on where we're up to with any change of ownership. and we're looking across the channel at the french election and how le monde is launching an english language edition. elvire camus is its editor in chief. just a quick one. what's french for partygate? it's partygate! well, there you go. we will come back to that later, no doubt. but first, let's start the show with the story of channel 4.
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last week, the culture secretary, nadine dorries, announced that government ownership is holding channel 4 back and put forward plans to sell the broadcaster. cue an outcry from some public figures and even some of the government's own backbenchers. with me is chris curtis, editor in chief of broadcast, who's been following the story. and chris, what is the latest? well, we're moving now. the government's made its mind up, it seems. this is a decision coming from numberten, coming from dcms. they want to sell off channel 4. what we don't yet know and what hopefully will soon become clearer, is the restrictions, the remit, the licence obligations that channel 4 is going to be subject to. because until those things are cleared up, any would—be bidders don't really understand exactly what it is that they are buying. and that's going to be the interesting phase that we move into now. what is the channel 4 that's up for sale allowed to do with regards to in—house production, for example?
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what are its requirements with regards to producing and spending money outside of london, in the nations and regions? all those kind of things need to be cleared up, and a white paper is expected towards the end of the month and the industry is waiting with bated breath to see whether those sorts of issues are going to be cleared up when that's published. ok, because you mentioned the nations and regions in terms of... as well as them sort of owning content or not owning content. there's also the issue of news, i suppose. it will be safeguarded, presumably, channel 4 news is one of its flagship programmes. but but this is all up for debate, is it? that's where we'll get to at some point. yes. i mean, there's an expectation, when comcast bought sky, for example, they effectively safeguarded sky news for an extended period of time, and certainly the government's given indications, hinted that there be some sort of similar provision so that the new owner would be committed to continuing to broadcast channel 4
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news in prime time. but that doesn't mean that the editorial tone of the programme wouldn't necessarily change, or its focus. you know, it has quite an international, broad international sort of outlook, channel 4 news. all that that could change, and all of these things need to be discussed and or decided. and it's not clear whether the government's going to take a consultation on that and invite the industry and interested stakeholders to share their views or whether they're simply going to tell the sector, these are the rules that will govern channel 4 and this is the shape of the organisation that's up for sale. you know, you cannot overstate for the independent production community in the uk how important it is the issue around in—house production at channel 4, and if that's allowed, what level of in—house production is is acceptable to the government, it's crucial. 0k.
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and in terms of the runners and riders, talk us through, you know, who is interested in buying channel 4? i take your point that it depends on, you know, what they're getting, but who's in the running? there's lots of organisations. everyone will have a look at this. i mean, such an opportunity hasn't come about before, really, to take ownership of a channel with such a strong brand and such a strong history. so, the obvious sort of domestic players that will look will be itv and channel 5's owner, paramount. both of those organisations will be making the case that they could be great stewards of channel 4. they'll be saying, "look, we already commercial "psb licence holders, we know how to play that game," and they're stuffed with execs who have worked at channel 4. so, you know, those guys were making a case. i'm certain sky will have a look. i'll be amazed if the recently merged warner brothers discovery organisation, which has been increasingly...
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discovery for the last or five or ten years, has been really getting into free to air television. they're going to team up with bt sport in the not too distant future as well, so there's quite a powerful potential player emerging there. i'm sure lots of american studios will will take a look. probably not the streamers, though. it doesn't quite chime with a with a streamer strategy, a linear broadcaster like channel 4. i mean, i saw that had been valued anything between 500 million and 1 billion, depending on, you know, what the constraints around the broadcasting is, but, you know, you mentioned news as you said, you know, potentially it could change. it's very early days, but is any of it likely to affect what viewers actually see on channel 4? yeah, definitely. i mean, channel 4 historically has had a innate remit. its ethos has been to order programmes that are distinctive and different and that its peers and rivals wouldn't order. now, you can debate the extent to which that ethos is is carried out.
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and, you know, you can look through the schedule and probably find some channel 4 shows which are pretty similar. but ultimately, you know, it is a broadcaster, that over the decades for a0 years now, has ordered different types of shows. there's no certainty that a privatised channel 4 would continue in that way because, ultimately, if profit is driving your decision—making process, you're going to view ideas through a different prism. and what happens next? just briefly, you know, is there a chance that this privatization won't go ahead or is it, you know, all guns blazing? it'll definitely happen? events can stop it, right? you know, if something comes out of left field, you know, a fair bit of political scandal around at the moment. if we to get a change of government or a change of leader, you know, a different culture secretary or course, those things could change it. there is likely to be some sort of rebellion in the commons, i would suggest. but again, it's difficult to put numbers. it's probably about ten
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backbench mp to have sort of said anything publicly that there's probably more close to 20 who are pretty disgruntled about the whole thing, whether they're prepared... you might get half way towards a decent sort of rebellion. that could build a bit of momentum. but it's hard to see this stopping if number ten and the dcms stick to their guns. 0k, well, stay with us, chris, because i want to turn to another of this week's big stories — the french elections, as we talked about at the beginning, on monday, it was announced that president emmanuel macron had narrowly won the first round of voting, but polls suggest that the run—off between him and marine le pen on april 24th could be close. le monde, the famous newspaper, has chosen this month to launch a new digital version in english, and elvire camus, who you heard at the front, is editor in chief of le monde in english. now, elvire, welcome to the programme. le monde is almost 80 years old. why has it onlyjust decided to launch an english language edition?
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well, i do agree that it's about time, and it actually does feel quite natural to most of the newsroom to do it. we have been translating quite a few of our stories now and again into english, but it's been for like major investigations. for instance, back in 2013, we did translate one investigation we did about two of ourjournalists being witness to one of bashar al assad's chemical attacks in syria. we translated an editorial about what we call the dangers of brexit in 2019. and so, we've always been willing to sort of broaden our audience and to make ourjournalism accessible to more people. ok, so you've been going down that route, but now you're fully going there. who's the target audience for le monde in english? english speakers, obviously. it's not specifically
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the united states or the uk, although it's the two main geographical zones that read us. but our first subscriber was japanese, so it's everyone who speaks english and everyone who speaks french. and i suppose people, you know, could, if they were interested, just go to le monde and get google to translate your articles. how are you doing it? are you doing it differently from that? it's notjust a case of google translate, presumably. no, we're doing it very differently. that's one of the main objective of the project, is to bring our quality journalism into quality english because it would be a shame to do otherwise. so, the process of translation is quite a heavy one. we're using different levels, the first one being that we translate our articles through an artificial intelligence, which is equivalent to google translate, and it roughly translate our texts into english. then translation agencies post—edit this text,
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roughly translated, and turn it into something that you'd understand, that makes sense. they get rid of all their literal translations, they make it fluent in english, get rid of all the gallicisms. they send it back to us. and in paris and los angeles, our two newsrooms, le monde journalist whose mother tongue is english go through the text. they're copy editors basically and add necessary context when needed. the idea isn't to adapt the the articles too much, but you need to add a few details. for instance, i'm thinking about the presidential election. we talk a lot about the alliance of parties or voters to prevent the far—right from winning the election. explaining them to english speakers.
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we can't just say the republican front and then move on, we have to add that little bit of context. so, those few words we we add in paris and los angeles, and then we publish the pieces and administrate the home page of the website. 0k. i mean, i suppose i'd ask, is being in english critical to turning le monde into a global news brand, like the new york times, for example? you know, it's become that thanks to digital subscriptions. is that where you're heading or hoping to head? yeah, as i said, the idea is really to bring our journalism to more people and english language is sort of the go—to. we have to go through there and we're happy to. and you're hoping to up subscriptions. do you have a target? yeah, right. we we have 520,000 subscribers right now, and the target is to reach one million by 2025. almost double. i'm s o
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rry? almost double. right. so, le monde english will hopefully help us to reach that goal. 10% of our subscribers are outside of france right now. great. 0k. well, let's bring in dominic hinde, who's lecturer in sociology of media at the university of glasgow, as well as being a journalist. dominic, what do you make of le monde�*s plans? is there a gap in the market there for them? i think there definitely is. and you know, as we mentioned, the new york times, the new york times has been incredibly successful over the past decade or so in expanding its brand internationally. you know, when i was younger, nobody in the uk read the new york times. you had to go to a special newsagents to get a copy, as you did with le monde, actually, whereas now the nyt is something which everybody will click on. i'lladmit to being a subscriber, i find it very useful. you know, le monde wouldn't be doing this without having crunched some numbers. they know there are people out there. and what brexit has showed
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as well is that there is a demand for news about europe in english from a non—british perspective. and if they can tap into that, it could be very, very successful. but various people have tried this over the years with mixed success. yeah, i was going to ask, has it been tried before? what's happened ? i mean, for example, we've got der spiegel, which has had an online english language edition from germany for a number of years now, and spiegel is germany's leading news magazine and is incredibly well regarded in germany. but the english language edition has had some great successes, but also been hamstrung by poor translation, misunderstanding the kind of editorial line that they need to take, cultivating subscribers, all the things that you need to do to really make it viable as anything other than a status symbol. right. elvire, i'm sure you don't plan to make any of those mistakes, but any reaction to what dominic has said? well, i think what's the most important thing is, you said, dominic, at the end is that we need to be
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really careful to have a good english level. i mean, to try and have a place up there next to the new york times, the washington post, the guardian and all those big newspapers. we need to be able to compare ourselves to them, and so we need to be able to publish stories that an english—speaking person can read easily and not stumble on the second word and close the tab and go somewhere else. so, this is where we're really concentrating on making something readable and good in english. as well as, i mean, because we already have the good journalism part, we have a very good newsroom, we have amazing journalists, so that i'm very confident about, and so quality english is the other thing. i want to come back in a bit to where we get the perspective from which we get our news, which is something, dominic, you were talking about.
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but let's just bring in benedicte paviot first. you work for another major french news organization that broadcasts to an english speaking audience. you're the uk correspondent at france 2a, which is a state—owned tv network. benedicte, i just wondered, you know, has there been some hesitancy by french news outlets about moving into the anglosphere? well, let's be clear, it was launched belatedly, actually, in 2006 that initially immediately broadcast in french and english 24 hours a day, seven days a week. it's a global news channel, so it's breaking news, international news. but we've now added arabic and spanish 24 hours a day as well. i do french and english, often within seconds of each other. apologies for interrupting, i'm just going to ask, though, about this hesitancy. i think you talk about france 2a opening in 2006. there was, i think, some criticism from the high auspices in france about
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the idea that a french channel would be broadcasting in english. am i right? well, look, the traditional idea of the french language, the language of moliere, was that it must be preserved, it must be looked after, it must not have too much franglais and english words. it won't come as a surprise to you, as being somebody who's half french, half british, having been steeped in that from the word go in my life, that i actually think and i know having worked for the bbc, world service, bbc world, france 24 and reaching out to across the planet, the more we can communicate between each other's cultures, look at our politics in those countries that have free speech because, of course, that isn't true and free news and free reporting, that is not true. and if ever the internet has shown that or indeed real—time reporting on ukraine or whether it's partygate as i was again this morning, yes, there was a hesitancy because some people thought that they should be custodians and the best way of keeping the culture and the language was that way.
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when president chirac decided to have the french elise website notjust in french but also in english, quite a lot of people were not happy, whether that was in the establishment or elsewhere, the academie francaise, possibly, or elsewhere. he pushed for there to be a global news channel. he understood that a country like france, that has a un security council permanent seat, it was essential that that voice be heard. so, ted turner, when he created cnn, the cable news network, if we cast our minds back that far, was thought to be bonkers, frankly. then bbc world then decides to do the same thing in the '905, and we can see that as the world has become more globalized, it is essential, as one of the other guests was saying, i think it was dominic, whether it's about brexit or partygate, there is huge interest. a change of prime minister in the uk, for example, would mean a different
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relationship with france, with the eu. what would it mean for brexit? what would it mean for the northern ireland protocol? and in terms of france broadcasting in english or, you know, reporting in english, there's a soft power element to it. that's what you're saying. there is totally a soft power element to it, and that is often, in my experience, undervalued, whether it's by the uk itself, at a time when the uk's shrinking its embassies, does it value the bbc world service and bbc world enough? france 24 has a very tight budget, i would argue that we need more, and that actually, leaders do not understand how important it is for that culture. it attracts people, it attracts investment, it attracts people to come and study, to come and have tourism in your countries. it is absolutely a plus. it enriches the world, and i think it promotes understanding, and i think that is absolutely essential. 0k, dominic, just to bring you back in, you've reported from around the world.
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i guess it's a sort of philosophical question that you raised a little earlier. what do we miss out on? you know, in the uk, our news is relayed for many of us by the likes of bbc, cnn — what do we miss out on by not getting a european view and european narrator on news events? i think that one of the things that you see quite a lot is that when something big happens in europe or elsewhere, for an english language audience, we get told that it's happening. we don't know quite why it's happening. we don't understand the context because we haven't been following it. the best example i can think of at the moment is actually the conversations in sweden and finland aboutjoining nato. now, you know, a lot of the reporting that's happened in the uk and in the us about that over the last week has failed to really grasp and explain the context of what the nato debate has been in sweden, say, for the last 40, 50 years. the anti—nuclear movement, sweden's position as a sort of diplomatic superpower due to its neutrality — all these really important elements, which have just been completely swept aside in some of the reporting.
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and if you have a more kind of decentralized reporting network and you have more constant coverage from these places, then you don't meet those same challenges when something very big comes along. and elvire, just to bring you back in, you said le monde in english will feature a broad range of le monde�*s articles, except those it deems too french. you were talking about that a little earlier, i think, but i'm intrigued. like what? what would you be taking out? well, we're typically taking out anything that has to do with your personal finances or french taxes and that sort of thing. and we're also not going to be translating anything, any wire stories that we publish on the french website because of the time—sensitive factor. obviously, in the time it takes for us to translate a wire, we've already changed it a few times on the french website. so, there's no logic in us translating that.
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dominic, just to bring you back in because you froze, unfortunately, at a crucial moment when you were talking about notjust france, finland and sweden, but also, you know, the anglophone bias of ourjournalism. i think it's partly because of the way foreign journalism has grown up over the years, and it was never intended to be for a global audience. but also, i think that if you spend any time working as a foreign correspondent for the us or the british media, you get constantly told again and again that you need to speak to an american or a british audience, and that's very true. but what we're seeing now, and this is why the le monde experiment is so interesting, is a transnational, english—speaking public that is very, very curious to hear different lines from what they usually would and is really interested in qualityjournalism. so, you know, it's slightly utopian, but i like to believe that it's actually a growth market there. i guess, you know, dominic, we started the programme by talking about channel 4, and there's an equivalent issue in the french elections, actually, because president macron has
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said he would do away with their equivalent of the licence fee. just tell us a bit more about that, because that's obviously very interesting and topicalfor us here, too. well, this is something that macron has said, and he's not alone in saying this. all across europe, politicians are playing with this idea because the licence fee is seen as an unfairtax by a lot of people. and actually, nowadays it's unenforceable. the republic of ireland at the moment is having huge problems enforcing its licence fee and as a result, its public broadcaster is really strapped for cash. you know, this is also a policy that was taken from the national rally as well. so, this was a this was something that was put out there, and macron has decided this is something that he can do, which he thinks will be popular. he's suggesting state funding instead, perhaps, ithink. yeah. and this is something that we've seen across the board. i mean, in denmark, a couple of years ago, the government moved from a licence fee model to a tax funded model, where some of that money wasn't going to the national public broadcaster, it was going to other places. that was widely seen as an attack on the independence of the broadcaster, actually,
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by making it more reliant on tax money, which can be easily cut, and less able to guarantee its funding and to carry out independent journalism. so, you know, macron may be doing this as a vote winner, but actually, whenever politicians say we need to replace the licence fee with something else, we need to be very wary about what their intentions actually are. chris curtis from broadcast, if i bring you back in, i saw that broadcast was reporting this afternoon that one of the big french tv bosses has claimed that a le pen victory would mean french state tv assets being sold to a billionaire. yeah. i mean, dominic summed it up quite well — there is a period of reckoning coming for public service broadcasters around the world, and it's going to be challenging, but i suspect that one of the things that those organisations need to do is kind of grasp the nettle and start to have proper, progressive conversations about alternatives. the bbc traditionally has been very defensive, and understandably so, about the licence fee
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and independence from government is absolutely crucial to its future. but if it becomes so wedded to the licence fee that it isn't prepared to engage in conversations about alternative funding measures, then there's a danger that it becomes a binary argument and it could get seriously walloped as and when the licence fee is ultimately replaced. and i think what's happening now is potentially a shift, where these organisations need to start grappling with a more progressive method of payment, one that isn't going to necessarily leave them seriously short changed, but one which keeps them at arm's length from government. because the moment you get a close relationship between government and national broadcaster, that could start to feel like a very uneasy relationship pretty quickly. i'm afraid that's all we've got time for today. thank you to all my guests — to chris curtis, editor in chief of broadcast, elvire camus, editor in chief at le monde in english,
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dominic hinde, journalist and lecturer in media and communication at glasgow university, and benedicte paviot, uk correspondent at france 24. the media show will be back at the same time next week, but for now, thanks so much for watching. goodbye. hello. saturday was a day of more widespread warmth across the uk, and for many, easter sunday is a repeat performance. for many, not all, because this would suggest there is some different weather on the way the further west you are. and that initially the case in northern ireland and in north—west scotland, with cloud and some outbreaks of rain as the day begins. it will be coolest in east anglia, down to two or three degrees in places. for most, it is clear to begin with, there will be a few mist and fog patches around. but we do have this atlantic weather front with cloud and outbreaks of rain
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in northern ireland, initially in the western counties in the morning, slowly moving further east into the afternoon before it gets into belfast, and affecting parts of western scotland initially the north—western western isles butjust edging a little further east going through the afternoon and into the evening, though glasgow could well stay dry until then. and some rain into cornwall and westernmost counties of wales. cooler with the rain, but elsewhere, 20, maybe 21 degrees in plenty of sunshine. more of wales, the western side of england, western scotland seeing the rain in the evening, there will be clearing to showers in northern ireland. it does push east overnight and into monday morning, but look how it weakens, so if you do want some rain in central and eastern parts of england, you are likely to be disappointed. now, as the weather front clears on through into easter monday and it is behind it, well, still perhaps some spells of rain towards north—west scotland where it will be quite windy, and windy, too, in northern ireland. but there willjust be a few showers moving on behind this front. it is, though, ushering in cooler air, not cold, just temperatures closer to average for the time
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of year on monday. but as it has gone through, there will be quite a bit of fine weather around on monday, still. broken clouds, sunny spells, the chance of a shower, more especially in the north and west and mainly for northern ireland, and into western scotland. north—west scotland could well see some longer spells of rain. it will be blustery across north—western parts, breezy elsewhere, and, yes, those temperatures are closer to average, though still above in the east and south—east of england. a greater chance for showers on tuesday in wales and the southern half of england. some could be quite heavy, we could see some rain into parts of northern ireland and western scotland. and then beyond that as the week goes on, an easterly wind moves in. that is still with a lot of dry weather around, just a few showers, but it will keep temperatures close to average, if not below, especially in eastern areas.
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this is bbc world news. welcome to breakfast with nina warhurst. the battle for mariupol, russia says it will spare the lives of the remaining ukrainian if they surrender in the next few hours. the archbishop of canterbury will use his easter service to strongly criticise government plans to send asylum seekers to rwanda. prince harry and the duchess of sussex attend the invictus games, the prince told the opening ceremony the world was united with ukraine. could deliver paul sees a record finish after beating manchester city to
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reach the fa cup final?


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