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What Price The Story? A celebration of African investigative journalism


Panel Discussions


Speakers: Sorious Samura, Ron McCullagh, Professor John Owen

Venue: Room A130, College Building, City University London, EC1V 4PB

Insight News Television and City University London present a panel discussion and screening, ahead of the launch of Insight News' "Africa Investigates" series of films in cooperation with Al Jazeera English on 4 November 2011.

(Please note that this screening and panel discussion precedes the official launch of Africa Investigates at the Frontline Club on 4 November.)

"Africa Investigates" is the start of an entirely new way of practising journalism - giving African journalists the tools and the support they need to tell their own, vital stories.

Award-winning African journalist Sorious Samura joins Insight News' internationally acclaimed Managing Editor Ron McCullagh and City's John Owen to discuss the new wave of African journalists who are putting themselves in danger to give a voice to the continent's voiceless.

There will also be screening the first of eight films in the "Africa Investigates" series: What Price The Story? The 24-minute film, which sees Samura return to the National Security Agency prison where he was tortured in 2000, reflects on the risks journalists take to expose the truth.


Sorious Samura

Sorious Samura has spent the last eight years as a filmmaker covering stories from hostile zones with hard-to-get access. His documentaries have been recognised worldwide, both for the courage of their photographic journalism and the impact of their message. Samura's debut documentary Cry Freetown (2000) was a brutal and gripping portrayal of atrocities committed during Sierra Leone's civil war which prompted him to travel to Liberia to try and understand their role in the violence in his country. There, he and his colleagues were arrested and charged with espionage by Charles Taylor's government but, as a result of international pressure, were released after a week in prison.

As well as numerous films for programmes like the BBC's Newsnight and Panorama, Sorious has worked on a series in Africa which involved him personally experiencing the lives of ordinary people in extraordinary situations. In Living With Hunger (2003), Sorious moved to a remote village in Ethiopia to understand the real stories of people living on the edge of starvation. For Living with AIDS (2005), he spent a month working in a hospital as a ward orderly in Zambia. Living with Illegals (2006) saw him travelling undercover as an illegal immigrant from Morocco, through Europe, into the UK.

Ron McCullagh

Before founding Insight News Television in 1991, Ron McCullagh worked as a reporter for the BBC for 10 years. He started his career as a local radio reporter for Radio Lancashire in 1980, and has worked for BBC Radio 4's Today programme and Breakfast News, where he was one of the first journalists to film his own material on a Hi8 camera. Ron has won a number of international awards for his work at Insight News, including the UNICEF UK Award for the Advancement of Children's Rights in 1998 for a report on child workers in Bangladesh which he reported, filmed, produced and edited. The 2000 documentary Cry Freetown with Sorious Samura which he directed has so far won 14 major awards including an Emmy and a BAFTA.

In 2002 Ron McCullagh directed Return to Freetown for CNN International and in 2006 he directed Blood on the Stone for Warner Bros and CNN, a film presented by Sorious following the trail of conflict diamonds through Guinea, Congo and the United States. Ron has executive-produced all of Sorious' films from the Living With series and many more. In 2000, when Sorious and his crew were arrested in Charles Taylor's Liberia on charges of espionage, Ron co-ordinated the international response which resulted in their release after one week.

Professor John Owen (Chair)

John Owen is Professor of International Journalism at City University London and Chairman of the Frontline Club. He was formerly head of CBC Television News and, more recently, Executive Producer for Al Jazeera programmes from 2010-11. He co-edited International News Reporting: Frontlines and Deadlines (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009).

Please note: Anas Aremeyaw Anas, originally scheduled to appear at this event, is unfortunately no longer able to join us. 

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When & where

6.30pm - 8.30pmThursday 3rd November 2011

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