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Nabila Ramdani: ‘Freedom of speech comes with responsibilities’

The “Journalists Speak out on Journalism” series continued on Monday, February 18th, 2013 with a talk from BBC Diplomatic Correspondent Bridget Kendall and author, journalist and broadcaster Nabila Ramdani.

The focus of the talk was the challenges ahead for international reporting, as the two took it in turns to speak, before answering questions from the onlookers.

Kendall discussed the need for journalists by asking: “Why do readers need professional journalists when they can make up their own minds?” before coming to the conclusion that “people don’t have time to wade through hours of information”.

She went on to talk about how the general public have a “lack of attention and interest in the news”. Using David Beckham launching some new underwear as an example, Kendall said that that “people prefer bitesize news with short, snappy titles and familiar subjects as they are simple and much easier to absorb than complex foreign stories”.

Ramdani spoke about similar issues, with a particular focus on the Libya conflict, saying that some journalist had “no concept of respect for human dignity in death when Gaddafi’s photo was splashed across the front pages of newspapers”, adding that “freedom of speech comes with responsibilities”.

Ramdani also believes that there is “no such thing as impartiality, but you can make your report fair and balanced” and that there are two types of journalists: those who take positions, and those who try not to.

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