21/04/2017 Newswatch


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At ten p.m., Fiona Bruce will be hit with a full round-up of the day's


news. Now it is time for Newswatch. They are off again as BBC News


embarks on covering another general election campaign, how much


attention should be given to the views of people like Brenda from


Bristol? And correspondent John


Sudworth on the challenges of reporting from North Korea,


surrounded by government minders. My job is to work out how far I can


push being a nuisance and an annoyance without getting me or my


team into difficulty. Tuesday morning saw one of those


moments when, after an hour of speculative gossip, almost everyone


here in the niche broadcasting House listened to an announcement,


takes a deep breath and embarks on a period of frenzied,


journalistic activity which, in this case,


could last for seven weeks I have just chaired a meeting


of the Cabinet, where we agreed that the Government should


call a general election, to be held All day, reporters and presenters


flocked to Downing Street. Occasionally there


was some activity. Mr Johnson, are you looking forward


to an early election? Cabinet ministers have been


in there since 8:30am. Mr Hunt, are you looking


forward to an election? I get a feeling it's


going to be a futile task. No one is going to want


to tramp Theresa May. They will be very obedient and walk


straight down the street. And when Mrs May appeared later,


Eleanor Garnier was just as vocal. Have you changed your


mind, Prime Minister? How many more times are you going


to change your mind, Prime Minister? The practice of shouting


questions at Downing Street came under attack again


from Newswatch viewers. Norman Smith


interrupted his piece to camera to shout at Boris Johnson


and others as the entered Number 10. It makes these really experienced


reporters look foolish and amateur Alan Adams wrote him after watching


Eleanor Garnier in what he described as ridiculous questions,


such as the classic, how many more U-turns, which was delivered


as a personal, political statement? It must surely qualify


as the most pointless All this voting doesn't please


everyone, I'd Brenda, in Bristol. There's too much politics


going on at the moment. Less than 24 hours in


and you have already Brenda swiftly became


the overnight media sensation. The BBC rode the wave


enthusiastically with a follow-up report on the following


night from Jon Kay. This was all too much.,


such as Anthony Parry, who begged, please, please,


stop showing Brenda from The PM does not have a strong enough


mandate to fight for Brenda's rights during


the Brexit negotiations. The PM's reasons


are totally apparent. Why is the BBC


continuing to show her? There will be plenty


more to say on Newswatch about the BBC election coverage


over the next few weeks. But, for now, let's leave it


with this plea from Clare. Now that an election has been


called, can the BBC provide debate that is wide-ranging


and informative? and the referendum,


the public was not well of time spent


chasing fashionable hares possibility that Labour


might have a pact with This was a failure of effective


debate. BBC, please, raise your gain. Adversarial interviews are not


always the most enlightening. Away from all the political


excitement in Britain, world News has been dominated by escalating


tensions between the United States and North Korea. The highly


repressive and secretive state was preparing for a fixed nuclear test.


On Monday it warned of all out war if the United States used military


force against it. John Sudworth was invited to Pyongchang where he


interviewed the Vice Foreign Minister. We asked him on his


expectations of the journalistic trip with a difference. North Korea


is all about shows of strength. The first day came in this tae kwon do


demonstration. The journalists, when they arrive, and I have been on a


few of these trips now, you are met by at least one government minder.


In our case on this visit, two government minders, he were our own


personal minders for the rest of the six days we were in Pyongyang. So,


they basically followed our every step. More than


that, they set our itinerary in the first place. They came along and


watched over every interview we did. Occasionally quibbled over questions


we asked, or took issue with things I had said to camera. My own


recorded thoughts for the reporting I was doing upset them on occasion.


It is the same for any journalist who is ever given permission to go


into North Korea. You might think, what is the point? I would argue


there is a point. We can, given all that has limitations, still speak to


ordinary North Korean citizens and we are able, of course is to judge


for ourselves how much of what they are telling us is what they really


feel or how much is being filtered because they know they are being


watched by an official. The dear Marshall, Kim Jong Un, beats and


clothes us, this nine-year-old girl tells me. Somebody who wants to


speak their own mind, tell something a little different, that would


challenge the official line. The risks would be so extreme that we


have to assume that we're not getting anywhere close to real


opinion. That said, you know, you can still judge in people's


reactions to the sort of questions you ask. You can tell, through the


sorts of pauses they may before answering. You can see them


second-guess the questions and learn a lot from doing that. Even leaving


aside the difficulty of speaking to ordinary people, just to be inside


North Korea, this most totalitarian states. To feel for ourselves the


way in which every aspect of civil life, social life, is utterly owned


and controlled by the system, I think is useful. It is an


extraordinary sight. Every now and again, it wants the world to hear


something. We were invited in, along with a couple of other foreign


reporters, to witness its ground, great, military parade. This was a


show of strength. This was a signal to the world, of course, about the


state of advancement of its missile technology. This was, if you like, a


message of defiance, that North Korea had carefully calibrated, that


it wanted to send to one particular audience, of course, in president


Donald Trump. It wanted the world's media, to amplify and broadcast that


message on its behalf. We are being used, to some extent, another word


of caution, about these trips. Standing alongside that parade,


watching the crowds, trying to judge for ourselves whether the


extraordinary emotion on display is real or manufactured. Again, all of


that is useful. There have been instances where foreign reporters


have found themselves in a tricky situation, as a result of the regime


taking issue with their reporting. I think, on the round, it's fair to


conclude because North Korea has invited the foreign media, because


they want us to project a certain message on their behalf, but they


also understand that, with that, comes a certain nuisance and


annoyance. For me on the ground, my job is to work out how far I can


push being a nuisance and an annoyance without crossing a line


getting me or my team into difficulty. We need to afford the


people we are dealing with inside North Korea, at least that due


respect. As long as we do that I think we are on pretty safe ground.


Thank you very much. Finally, coverage of the gun attack that


killed a policeman on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on Thursday


evening raised again the thorny issue for journalists. Outlined here


by Jeff Richmond from Worcestershire. You'll be really


good if BBC News script writers and editors could share with us how they


define the word, terrorism, when reporting incidents.


Thank you to all of you who got in touch with us this week. If you want


to share your opinions, or even appear on the programme, you can


call us. Or e-mail News watch. You can find us on twitter. Do have a


look at previous discussions on the website. That is all from us. We'll


be back to hear your thoughts about BBC News coverage again next week.


Goodbye. In the sport, a first chance for


fans and players to pay their respects to the former


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