News: Truth or Fiction?
Chair: Rana Mitter
The George Webber Memorial Event
Trust in the media is at an all-time low. How does the media exert its power, and are the stories that are told in repressive regimes so different from those conveyed in the West’s liberal democracies? James Harding, John Lloyd and Matthew d’Ancona, in conversation with professor and broadcaster, Rana Mitter, investigate exactly how truth can be mediated and distorted.
Matthew D’Ancona is a British journalist and award-winning political columnist for the Guardian, London Evening Standard, Sunday Telegraph and International NYT. He was Deputy Editor of the Sunday Telegraph before becoming editor of The Spectator in 2006, named Editor of the Year (Current Affairs) in the 2007 BSME awards. He is a visiting research fellow at Queen Mary College and the author of several books, including In It Together: The Inside Story of the Coalition. He edited Being British: The Search for the Values That Bind the Nation. In 1989 he was elected a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. He is also a trustee of the Science Museum Group.
Bill Browder was the largest foreign investor in Russia until 2005, when he was denied entry to the country after exposing widespread corruption. Since 2009, when his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, died in Moscow during incarceration without a trial, he has led a global campaign to expose human rights abuses endemic in Russia.
John Lloyd co-founded the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford, where he is a Senior Research Fellow. Lloyd has written several books, including What the Media Are Doing to Our Politics and Journalism in an Age of Terror. He is also a contributing editor at the FT and a columnist for both reuters.com and La Repubblica.
James Harding was director of News and Current Affairs at the BBC from 2013 to 2017. He was previously editor of The Times from 2007 to 2012 and Washington bureau chief for the FT.
From 2001 to 2016, Tina Mendelsohn worked for German public television (ZDF), serving as an editor and presenter of the daily cultural and political affairs programme Kulturzeit, for which she conceived, wrote, and hosted over 1,000 live episodes. From 1995 to 2000, she was a reporter for Klartext, the political and cultural magazine of the Berlin-Brandenburg branch of German television (ARD).Tina Mendelsohn has directed and written six major 45-minute historical documentary films for German television (ARD, SWR) and has worked on documentary films for the BBC and Channel 4. Her articles have appeared in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Vogue, and most recently in the magazine of the Bavarian State Opera. Over the past 20 years, she has filmed in many countries around the world; moderated over a hundred symposia and other public events; and conducted hundreds of interviews with major figures in the arts, literature, the humanities and social sciences, and politics, from Cold War strategist George F. Kennan to authors such as Amos Oz and the American novelist Richard Ford to the performance artist Marina Abramovic.
Rana Mitter is Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China at the University of Oxford and presents Free Thinking on Radio 3. His latest books include China's War with Japan, 1937-1945: The Struggle for Survival and Modern China: A Very Short Introduction.