New Series Launch: Unreported World – Reporting Social Change

November 1, 2012

By Joëlle Pouliot

Channel 4 presented its new series of Unreported World to a packed audience at the Frontline Club on October 31, followed by a panel discussion entitled “Reporting Social Change“.

Frontline Club - Unreported World 31 October 2012

Unreported World correspondents Aidan Hartley, Ramita Navai, Marcel Theroux, Jenny Kleeman, Seyi Rhodes, Channel 4 News anchor Krishnan Guru Murthy and series editor Monica Garnsey introduced extracts from the upcoming programmes and talked about the change of focus from the reporter to the interviewee in the new series.

Aidan Hartley presented his report about a British Somali businessman facing the continuous threat of suicide bombers in Mogadishu by opening new restaurants in the area.

“This is the story that I had been ignoring all of these years since 1991 and it was so incredibly good for me to do… in this story, there are all the hopes that you can relate to what Somali’s want from the country.”

Ramita Navai discussed her piece about the increasing frequency of sexual attacks on women in Egypt since the revolution.

“I was trying to figure out why it was so bad in Egypt, in a way that it isn’t in other Middle Eastern countries… There are a few interesting answers that come out in the film that we think are very important and we’re really looking forward to it getting out there.”

Marcel Theroux reported on the elections of the opposition movements in Russia. His film follows Kseniya Sobchak, a Russian socialite who went from hosting reality TV to becoming a contender in the opposition elections.

“I thought she is someone who really might be a potential leader of the future in Russia, because she really does connect to the new generation. Her fans are much younger, they are social-media savvy… She is constantly tweeting about political issues”.

Jenny Kleeman discussed the issues highlighted in her report about police crackdowns on clubbers in Mumbai.

It’s about the pace of social change (in India). You’ve got a country that is changing so rapidly but not all the constituents of that society are able to enjoy the benefits of that change, and some feel very threatened by it.”

Seyi Rhodes presented his film examining the pressure young baseball players from the Dominican Republic face from their trainers, as they try to be recruited by American teams.

“The reality for them is that outside of some sort of amazing talent that will make you millions, you’re likely to be picking sugar cane for the rest of your life… If you’re right down at the bottom, you’re looking for the big jump to raise the whole family out of poverty.”

C4 News anchor Krishnan Guru Murthy discussed his piece on the influence of conservative talk radio shows in the United States and the difference in broadcasting ethics in America.

“The temperature that this cultivates is angry, is very polarized…What we found is that you hear a lot of the same arguments… which I found pretty horrific… your biggest fear as a broadcaster is just talking to people who agree with one side or just think one thing and not really talking to a broad spectrum.”

The correspondents discussed why the new Unreported World series focuses more on the characters in the stories rather than the reporters:

“People get involved with a character, they become invested with that character,” said Seyi Rhodes.

Jenny Kleeman agreed:

“Our job as reporters is to help people feel empathy for people living very different lives on the other side of the world.”

The new series of Unreported World starts Friday November 2, at 7.30 pm.

Watch the full discussion here: