Paddy O’Connell

April 3, 2014

Who will lead Afghanistan?

By Alex Glynn ‘What next for Afghanistan?’ asked a panel of experts at the Frontline Club on 2 April, in an event in partnership with BBC World Service, that looked at the possible outcomes of the upcoming election. There was a certain measured optimism in the response to this question from the panel and a […]


September 5, 2013

Intervening in Syria: Not Another Iraq or Afghanistan

By Jim Treadway “It’s a town hall style meeting – we quickly come to you,” BBC 4‘s Paddy O’Connell told a sold-out First Wednesday audience at the Frontline Club yesterday evening.  The topic was intervention in Syria, and with four experts by his side, O’Connell led a lively back-and-forth with the night’s attendees. “Here we […]


Wednesday 4 September 2013, 7:00 PM

First Wednesday: Crossing the Red Line

As the rhetoric about intervention in Syria escalates, we will be bringing together a panel of experts to examine the arguments for and against, and the implications of action or inaction.


July 4, 2013

Talking to the Taliban

by Sally Ashley-Cound The Taliban have made steps towards wanting to be seen as a legitimate political force, by setting up an operations office in Qatar on 18 June this year. The First Wednesday discussion chaired by Paddy O’Connell at the Frontline Club on 3 July asked: Is talking to the Taliban a solution? John D McHugh, […]


Wednesday 3 July 2013, 7:00 PM

First Wednesday: Is talking to the Taliban a solution?

On 18 June Nato handed over security for the whole of Afghanistan to the Afghan government. At the same time in Doha, Qatar, the Taliban opened an office, establishing a political face to the movement. Paddy O’Connell of BBC Radio 4′s Broadcasting House will be hosting a panel of experts to take an in-depth look at what negotiations with the Taliban mean for Afghanistan.


Wednesday 5 June 2013, 7:00 PM

First Wednesday: Who will be the next president of Iran and why does it matter?

On 14 June Iranians will go to to the polls to vote for a president to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but what significance does this election hold? Join us to analyse the approaching election, the main players and what the result will mean for the future of Iran.


March 7, 2013

Syria: Who should help and when?

By Sally Ashley-Cound Paddy O’Connell started this month’s First Wednesday with a tribute to Marie Colvin who was killed in Homs a year a ago. After introducing the panel O’Connell got straight on to the news announced today by Foreign Secretary William Hague that the UK will be sending a £13m package of logistical and […]


Wednesday 1 May 2013, 7:00 PM

First Wednesday: Pakistan goes to the polls

As Pakistan gears up for critically important elections, we are joined by a panel of experts who will be discussing the significance of this election and analysing the candidates, their alliances and policies.


February 8, 2013

Untangling Mali

By Sally Ashley-Cound The complex situation of the French-led intervention in Mali and the issues in the surrounding region was untangled somewhat on 6 February 2013 at the Frontline Club’s First Wednesday: A new front in the fight against terrorism? Paddy O’Connell of BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House was the chair and started things off by asking the […]


February 8, 2013

HIGHLIGHTS First Wednesday: A new front in the fight against terrorism?

In light of the hostage crisis in Algeria and the French-led offensive against Islamist militants in Mali, on Wednesday 6 February we were joined by Channel 4 News’ Lindsey Hilsum, Lord Ashdown, Ibrahima Diane from BBC Afrique and Wilfred Willey, president of the Malian Community Council in the UK. In a debate chaired by Paddy O’Connell of BBC Radio 4′s Broadcasting House we examined […]


Wednesday 6 March 2013, 7:00 PM

First Wednesday: Syria crisis – Diplomatic shifts and developing dialogues

A year after Marie Colvin was killed in Homs, the war in Syria is still raging and has cost the lives of more than 60,000 people. Following new US Secretary of State John Kerry’s first foreign tour, we ask if he can deliver on his vow not to leave the Syrian opposition “dangling in the wind”.


Wednesday 9 January 2013, 7:00 PM

FULLY BOOKED First Wednesday: Will 2013 see an end to the conflict in Syria?

March 2013 will mark two years since the conflict in Syria began. The UN has said it believes the fighting has now cost the lives of at least 60,000 people. We will be bringing together an expert panel to update you on the situation in the country, and to look ahead at the prospects for 2013.


October 5, 2012

Videos and violence – Defending Islam and free speech

By Nigel Wilson The online publication of the Innocence of Muslims video was the catalyst for violent and at times deadly protests in some countries. In the UK the series of events has pushed debates on freedom of expression and cultural sensitivity into the mainstream. For October’s First Wednesday an expert panel took to the […]


October 3, 2012 7:00 PM

FULLY BOOKED First Wednesday: Defending Islam and free speech

Freedom of expression or provocation? Join us as we examine the root causes of the wave of protest and violent attacks that have spread across the Middle East, Africa and Asia.


September 12, 2012 7:00 PM

First Wednesday: Obama’s reckoning?

On 6 November 300 million Americans in 50 states will go to the polls to elect the next US President. As the race for the White House heats up join us with a panel of experts to map out the arguments being made by both camps.


September 12, 2012 7:00 PM

First Wednesday

After the summer break First Wednesday will take place on the second Wednesday of the month. But, as always, we will be bringing together an informed panel to discuss the story of the moment in a public meeting hosted by Paddy O’Connell of BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House.


July 5, 2012

The challenges ahead for Egypt’s first democratically elected president

Report by Jonathan Couturier Mohammed Mursi has become Egypt’s first democratically elected president – but while he may have been chosen as the people’s representative, the country still has to contend with the powerful Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), who may thwart any attempt at change. The panel was divided over Mursi’s ability […]


July 4, 2012

First Wednesday

Join us with Paddy O’Connell of BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House and a panel of experts, commentators and journalists to discuss the top story of the moment. This monthly event gives you the opportunity to hear from and question those with an informed knowledge of the issue.

The subject of debate will be announced on Monday, 25 June.


July 3, 2012 7:00 PM

FULLY BOOKED First Wednesday: What does the result of Egypt’s Presidential election mean for the country and the region?

Join us with a panel of experts to examine the challenges Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohammed Mursi will face at home and abroad and whether he will keep to his promise of being a leader for all Egyptians.


June 6, 2012 7:00 PM

FULLY BOOKED First Wednesday: Syria – Is this the tipping point?

Again Syria hits our front pages but will the massacre of more than 100 men, women and children in Houla be the final straw for the international community?

What are the options on the table for the international community, the Assad regime and the opposition forces? Join us as we ask whether the deepening crisis in Syria is reaching a tipping point.


May 2, 2012 7:00 PM

First Wednesday: The press, politicians and power – What will we learn from Leveson?

The relationship between the press and politicians is what is now under scrutiny at the Leveson Inquiry and the long awaited testimony from Rupert and James Murdoch has unearthed a relationship that paints an uncomfortable picture for the government.

Following these latest revelations, hosted by BBC Radio 4’s Paddy O’Connell, we will be examining what we have heard and what the ramifications will be for politicians and the press.


April 5, 2012

Is Invisible Children’s KONY 2012 campaign baloney?

With over one hundred million ‘views’ the Kony 2012 video has started a far-reaching debate on the aims and value of a production seen by many as an over-simplification of complex situation.


April 5, 2012 7:00 PM

FULLY BOOKED First Wednesday: KONY 2012 – A force for good?

The recent KONY 2012 campaign video has been met with strong criticism, but nobody can question its effectiveness in reaching a mass audience.

Despite its inaccuracies this campaign has created wider awareness about Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) than any news report or campaign that has come before it, so what can be learned? Join us for April’s First Wednesday as we debate whether the KONY 2012 campaign is a force for good or a worrying development in campaigning.


February 8, 2012

The DNA of culture: Jeremy Hunter in conversation with Paddy O’Connell

By Natricia Duncan     The Frontline Club was treated to an explosion of colour, culture, festivity and debate as photojournalist Jeremy Hunter explored the “DNA of countries” through pictures. Hunter described how he began travelling as part of his job as a foreign correspondent for NIR-TV in Tehran.  Although not employed as a photographer […]


February 7, 2012 7:00 PM

In the Picture: Let’s Celebrate 365 with Jeremy Hunter

LET’S CELEBRATE 365 allows us to glimpse the diverse, colourful and sometimes obscure festivals, ceremonies and rituals celebrated around the world.

Artful and anthropological in equal measure, Jeremy Hunter‘s photographs are a snapshot of a world of truly disparate cultures and their celebrations, many of which have remained unchanged for centuries.

This event will be moderated by Paddy O’Connell of BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House and the Frontline Club’s First Wednesday strand.


January 12, 2012

How to become a freelance foreign correspondent

By Helena Williams Last year was the year of the freelance foreign correspondent. The tumultuous events of 2011 gave freelance journalists unprecedented access to breathless, breaking news stories in the Arab world – unlike Iraq and Afghanistan, where embedding restrictions applied, freelancers were free to travel and compete on the frontline. With the increasing attraction […]


January 5, 2012

The Leveson Inquiry comes to Frontline – what have we learned?

By Thomas Lowe Passionate exchanges, heckling from the audience and caustic wit – that’s what you get when a panel of journalists sit down to discuss what Peter Wilby described as the media’s ‘truth and reconciliation commission’. Anne Diamond, who now hosts the Anne Diamond show on Berkshire radio believes she was ‘targeted’ by Rupert […]


January 4, 2012 7:00 PM

FULLY BOOKED First Wednesday: The Leveson Inquiry – what have we learned?

Since the Leveson Inquiry hearings began on 14 November some of the worst of British journalism has been laid bare by the victims of phone hacking, politicians, journalists and editors who have spoken.

As revelations from the phone hacking investigation continue, join us for the first event of 2012 to discuss what has been revealed about the workings of the tabloid press and what the fall out will be for the journalism industry.

A lively public meeting hosted by Paddy O’Connell of BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House.


January 4, 2012

The first events of 2012 at the Frontline Club

Ahead of the resumption of the Leveson Inquiry next week, our first event of 2012 hosted by Paddy O’Connell will bring us up to date with the proceedings and discuss what we can expect in the coming weeks. Screenings next week include U.N. Me, an investigation into incompetence and corruption at the heart of the UN and an […]


November 2, 2011 7:00 PM

FULLY BOOKED First Wednesday: #Occupy – What do they want?

What began in the financial district of New York City in mid September under the name Occupy Wall Street has become a movement that is spreading across the globe. But what do they want and how do they intend to achieve their goals? Are their aims realistic? Can they have any impact?

Join us at the Frontline Club to debate the aims and objectives of the Occupy movement and to discuss whether it can bring about any change.