Frontline Club bloggers

July 28, 2011

Afghan transition: Just another word for nothing left to lose?

Afghanistan appears on the verge of collapse. The prospect of civil war looms. Political gridlock; the impending collapse of the banking system; falling currency and property values; endemic corruption; capital flight; frozen aid funding; escalating insurgent attacks; ethnic groups planning to re-arm; a power vacuum in the south; targeted assassinations… this is the landscape of […]

July 23, 2011

Video-making made simpler!

Two years ago I made my first film (about a massacre in the Central African Republic) using a small Canon digital video camera and editing software borrowed from a friend. I didn’t have a tripod, so I had to ask my translator in the field to hold the camera steady while I attempted a piece […]

July 19, 2011

BBC journalists reflect on the nature of war reporting

BBC World Affairs Producer Stuart Hughes recently gave a talk on war reporting to a summer school at the London School of Economics. He has uploaded his slides and videos onto YouTube. Inevitably there are a few slides which won’t mean much without the benefit of Hughes’s words overlaid but he has included several interviews […]

July 18, 2011

Fictional ‘Gay Girl in Damascus’ blog disappears

The ‘Gay Girl in Damascus’ blog, which was believed to have provided an authentic voice documenting the Syrian chapter of the Arab Spring, has "vanished". The author of the blog, Tom MacMaster, apparently decided to delete the contents of the blog after it reached more than a million "separate views". The blog had claimed to […]

July 18, 2011

Hunger in the Horn of Africa

I found this blog by Simon Levine at the Overseas Development Institute an interesting discussion on the politics of famine. It focuses on the hunger ravaging the Horn of Africa, with thousands of Somalis turning up at the Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya every day. His main argument is that famines only tend […]

July 13, 2011

Terror in Mumbai and the evolution of crisis communications

Several hours ago, three explosions hit the Indian city of Mumbai. At the current time (18h00 GMT), reports suggest seventeen people have been killed and 81 injured. Less than three years after the siege of 26/11, the citizens of Mumbai are facing the consequences of another terror attack. It is hardly a surprise that people […]

July 13, 2011

For Afghan first nephews, US passports are ticket out of chaos

The assassination of Ahmad Wali Karzai, the Afghan president’s half-brother, has dealt a huge blow to transition plans and is likely to lead to major power struggles across the country’s south as rival clans fight to fill the power vacuum created by his death. What may effectively become a civil war could undermine the security […]

July 13, 2011

No more power cuts in Chad?

Chad’s new oil refinery at Djermaya has opened on schedule. Hopefully this should end the dark days (and nights) for N’Djamenois who are used to the city electricity supply going off for anything up to three months at a time. When I first arrived in Chad in 2008, I remember distinctly the eeriness of sunset, as […]

July 11, 2011

The iPhone for war photographers

For many journalists, the iPhone has become a standard part of the toolset. But it’s also being tested to the limit by war reporters.  A couple of interesting experiments from Afghanistan caught my eye this morning documenting ventures in the photographic potential of the iPhone.  First, this piece in The Guardian highlighting its use by Teru […]

July 10, 2011

Welcome South Sudan

I thought it would be a nice idea to make my first entry on this blog a celebration of the birth of South Sudan. After years of neglect or reports of the horror of the war which raged on and off for close to fifty years, how wonderful to see the unbridled joy reported by […]

July 8, 2011

The dangers of reporting Ciudad Juarez

Daniel Dominguez, one of the hard-worked crime reporters on El Diario, the biggest newspaper in Ciudad Juarez, was kind enough to let me spend the day with him last week. Here’s the report I produced for AFP, which you can also see here on YouTube. The same video is also embedded below, in case of […]

July 8, 2011

Hackgate: a week of extraordinary revelations

When the story broke on Monday that the News of the World (NOTW) allegedly hacked the phone of missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler and her family in March 2002, a public outcry ensued. Every day since has seen a new revelation in the scandal, with almost hourly developments culminating yesterday in the NOTW being closed down […]

July 7, 2011

Video: Assange, Žižek and Goodman in conversation

Download this episode View in iTunes Watch the event here.   On Saturday 2 July at 4pm GMT (11am EST; 8pm AEST), this page will host a live stream of Frontline Club’s special “in conversation” event featuring WikiLeaks editor-and-chief Julian Assange in conversation with Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, moderated by Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman… (live […]

July 7, 2011

Hacking scandal will bring seismic change to British media

Britain’s media industry is about to undergo seismic change. The implications of the latest revelations about journalists hacking telephone voicemail systems have clearly shown that the country’s famously feisty and fiercely independent news outlets are incapable of self regulation. Senior executives of News International are under a harsh spotlight as it becomes ever more evident […]

July 6, 2011

Journalists detained in Ethiopia to stand trial

Two Swedish journalists have been taken in to custody by the army in Ethiopia, and are set to stand trial over yet unknown charges. Freelancers Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye entered Ethiopia from Somalia, and were reporting on the ongoing conflict between Somali guerrillas and the Ethopian state. The last person to see Persson and […]

July 4, 2011

WikiLeaks ‘blackmailed’ over Bank of America leaks

Whistleblower website WikiLeaks is under a “kind of blackmail” over leaked Bank of America documents, according to the organisation’s editor-in-chief, Julian Assange. Speaking at a special Frontline Club event on Saturday alongside renowned philosopher Slavoj Žižek and investigative journalist Amy Goodman, Assange spoke at length about the pressures faced by WikiLeaks amid a political backlash. […]

July 2, 2011

LIVE BLOG: Assange, Žižek and Goodman

Today at 4pm GMT (11am EST; 8pm AEST) Frontline Club will host a special "in conversation" event featuring WikiLeaks editor-and-chief Julian Assange in conversation with Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, moderated by Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman. On this page we will be blogging updates live from the Troxy in East London, with updates from behind the […]

June 30, 2011

Žižek: WikiLeaks is a threat to power

This Saturday (2 July) renowned Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek will appear at a special Frontline Club “in conversation” event alongside WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange and award winning investigative journalist Amy Goodman. Widely held as one of the most influential living philosophers – and once described as “the Elvis of cultural theory” – Žižek will discuss […]

June 29, 2011

WikiLeaks’ Assange too controversial for London university

Frontline Club’s upcoming event featuring WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange and renowned Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek was deemed too controversial for the University of London’s Institute of Education (IOE). The event, which will take place on 2 July at the Troxy in East London, had originally been tentatively scheduled to take place at Logan Hall, a […]

June 27, 2011

Afghan free media is a matter of time, says one who should know

Afghanistan’s media industry is one of the youngest and most vibrant in the world, having burst into life to fill the vacuum left just 10 years ago by the demise of the Taliban. From a country without music or movies, Afghanistan is now jam-packed with radio, television, newspapers, magazines, film, music and theatre. Much comes […]

June 24, 2011

‘Harassed’ US journalist fights to protect source

A Pulitzer prize-winning New York Times journalist is being pressured by the Obama administration to reveal the identity of a whistleblower. James Risen, who wrote extensively about the Bush administration’s domestic wiretapping programme, has been issued a subpoena forcing him to testify as part of the prosecution of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA agent whom […]

June 21, 2011

BBC appeal for release of detained Tajikistan reporter

The BBC World Service is “highly concerned” about the safety of their correspondent in Tajikistan, Urunboy Usmonov, who has been detained in the country for a week without regular access to his lawyer. A statement was made by the BBC on June 16 condemning the detention and demanding the immediate release of Usmonov. But despite […]

June 20, 2011

Australian media access to Afghan mission vital for understanding

It’s been a bad year for the Australian military fighting in Afghanistan. Three soldiers were killed in May, another in early June, bringing the total to 27 since Australia committed troops to the coalition that invaded Taliban-controlled Afghanistan in 2001. The deaths highlighted for Australians the reality of being at war and led to calls […]

June 12, 2011

Kazan: Last chance for an Armenia-Azerbaijan peace?

16.7 kilometers south of Lachin, Armenian-controlled Azerbaijan  © Onnik Krikorian for IWPR Expectations of ending the long-running conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh are high ahead of a meeting between the two presidents hosted by Russian President Dimitry Medvedev in Kazan on 25 June. The war fought in the early 1990s […]

June 9, 2011

In praise of… the WikiLeaks Truck

Described as part prank, part art and part activism, the WikiLeaks Top Secret Mobile Information Collection Unit has been bothering US authorities in recent months. A white van emblazoned with the WikiLeaks logo by the artist Clark Stoeckley, the Collection Unit has paid unwelcome visits to notable sites including the White House, Capitol Hill and […]

May 25, 2011


Bahrain, December 1990 Vaughan Smith sat in Bahrain for two months wondering how to bluff his way into the Gulf War. And while he waited, staying temporarily with a friend, whose bookshelves he explored, he searched for inspiration in books that charted the exploits of the prisoners-of-war who had escaped from German camps in the […]

May 24, 2011

Aftermath: Kosovo’s civil wars photoessay

In the coming days we will be posting some of the best content from the last two years of the Frontline broadsheet, including an outstanding photoessay from each edition. Today we bring you Andrew Testa’s piece from Spring 2010 — a special report on the aftermath of Kosovo’s vicious civil wars. (You can subscribe to […]

May 19, 2011

Kidnappings, executions & bloodbaths: a photoessay from Mexico

In the coming days we will be posting some of the best content from the last two years of the Frontline broadsheet, including an outstanding photoessay from each edition. Today we bring you Julián Cardona’s piece from Summer 2009 — a special report from the Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez. (You can subscribe to the […]

May 17, 2011

Ministry of Defence reviewing communication strategy for a networked world

The Ministry of Defence is considering proposals that would empower more members of their staff to communicate so it can compete more effectively in a networked information environment. In particular, the MoD will decide whether to free deployed commanders from aspects of existing constraints which mean their operations are usually communicated through spokespeople. A more […]

May 17, 2011

Julian Assange Sydney Peace Prize: full video

Last week at Frontine, WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize gold medal for Peace with Justice. You can read our report of events here. Below you can find the full video of the event. A write up of a Q&A section with Assange, which followed the speeches, can be found here […]