WATCHING THE MEDIA

There were two important programmes broadcast last week, that showed some rather extraordinary and very worrying things. The first was the shocking John Snow documentary on the civil war in Sri Lanka, that ended in 2009, and cases filmed on mobile phones of clear murder and atrocity. Terrible enough in itself, and in support of the enquiry blocked at the UN, what was also extraordinary was that such an important programme was broadcast so late. Twenty years ago such a vital report would not have found such bizarre scheduling, but would have led mainstream broadcasting. Perhaps everything is being sacrificed to entertainment.

The second programme was Jammie Oliver’s Food Revolution in America. We know Phoenix has a gripe against American bullying, out of an individual publishing battle, in no small part because it is so out of step with those great ideals America claims to represent, like freedom and especially freedom of speech. However, Jamie Oliver’s battle with the LA school system was deeply worrying, and especially their complete lock down on his own freedom of speech, linked to the revoking of filming permits. The rest of the world knows about the health problems related to American over consumption, especially in fast food, and the programme may have been trying to play that paradoxical game of coverage and even celebrity, but it was committed and sincere.

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