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Blog

Veteran war correspondent Martin Bell on the death of news

By: stagedoorscribbler - October 26, 2017

Martin Bell

Are we really living in a post-truth society where alternative facts are useable currency for politicians and media outlets alike?

It’s a frightening thought but it certainly isn’t as new as you might think, particularly on the world's battlefields. One man who has witnessed at close hand the dangerous disregard that is so often displayed for the lessons of history is seasoned war correspondent Martin Bell. You can here his thoughts on the subject when he brings War and the Death of News to the Little theatre in Leicester on Tuesday 31st October and talks about his latest book of the same name.

Since being offered the post of ‘Grade B reporter’ by the BBC in 1964, Martin has spent more than half a century in the unquiet corners of the world, including four years in the surrogate war zone of the House of Commons. 

From Vietnam to Bosnia and beyond, the former BBC correspondent has been in the thick of it and has witnessed most of the wars of a turbulent half century. His conclusions are first hand and personal. He draws on his memories as a soldier and journalist, his broadcast reports, his notebooks and diaries, and original documents that he extracted from the war zones. He writes of the pity of war and (usually) its futility; of the failures that occur when armed force is chosen by politicians who have had, themselves, no experience of it; of the complex and ever-changing relationship between the media and the military; of the dangerous disregard of the lessons of history; of attempts to establish a system of international justice; of wars of religion and climate change; of truth and falsehood in news reporting; of the hazards of the 24/7 news cycle; of a TV news that, being no longer an eyewitness, censors the real world violence and peers across frontiers with the help of unverifiable videos. And of a journalism in retreat – the Death of News. 

Written with passion and clarity, this book is an essential read for all who value truth and integrity in journalism.” Terry Waite. 

“Wry, funny and trenchant – saluting the end of an era.” Kate Adie.

Martin Bell - War and the Death of News is at The Little Theatre in  Leicester on Tuesday 31st October. More information at  www.thelittletheatre.net