The Calais rules


Frontline Club founding member Tira Shubart sees her new BBC TV comedy series, Taking the flak, start next week. The series takes a wry look at the world of foreign correspondents reporting a fictitious African war and was originally entitled "The Calais Rules"… read on if these rules are new to you. In what might be a bit of a club-in, fellow club regular Kim Sengupta chimes in with a preview in The Independent today. Taking the flak is a comedy but, we are promised, will also hint at some of the realities of foreign newsgathering,

What does not ring true is just how few people the BBC supposedly had in Karibu. In most conflict situations the Beebs’s contingent, visas permitting, is vast. It’s amusing to see the fun and games when the "big beasts" arrive. In the brief Georgian war last summer, hacks discussing details of the day’s fighting would inevitably end with "Oh, and four others flew in from the BBC". Recently, to cover an event in Iraq the Beeb had a team of 17, while the other TV stations had three or four. It is common, in situations like that, to hear cash-strapped rival broadcasters mutter under their breath as yet another BBC reporter interviews a BBC reporter. The BBC does, of course, as they tend to point out to you, have a lot of outlets to service. link