Contributors and Correspondents

13 December 2019 By Paul Martin

PAUL MARTIN

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A media law expert, a broadcaster, an investigative and narrative journalist, a radio and television producer, a film-maker, a pioneer of media innovation – Paul Martin,  the Founder of MediaZones, has shown a very wide array of talents and achievements in his professional career.  His key subjects have been sport and its political dimensions; and foreign affairs, especially the Middle East and Africa. In 2017 he was appointed to the Advisory Panel for the Association for International Broadcasting.   He is also currently writing a book with a senior member of the late Nelson Mandela’s family.

Martin launched into broadcast journalism immediately he graduated in African Government and Law from the University of Cape Town.  His anti-apartheid activities led to his exile. to London and Nairobi.  He then wrote in British newspapers under Paul Martin Cainer, his original name, or abbreviated it to Paul Martin.

As a correspondent for the BBC in the Mideast and North Africa, he reported on major world events: the Egypt-Israel peace accords, the era of Anwar Sadat and the first year of rule by Hosni Mubarak, the Iran hostage crisis, war in Lebanon, the destruction of Iraq’s nuclear reactor, the Iraq-Iran war, and Gaddafi’s Libya… and that was just in the first four years of his more than three decades reporting from across the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe.  In that time his intrepid foreign coverage was put forward for the British Press Awards and twice for the Pulitzer Prizes.

Equally prolific on his return to London, he wrote and broadcast for the world’s leading media on sport, sports politics, and foreign affairs.

He has run international media companies in London for two decades.  Having founded and run three London-based international production companies for television and later for multimedia, he established working relationships with media outlets worldwide .   In 1999-2001 he edited the largest non-State-controlled radio news production and distribution service across Africa.   In print and in broadcast, his contacts inside British and international media are very extensive; and he has longstanding contacts with a range of broadcasters and newspapers worldwide.

He was inside Iraq as American and British troops conquered Saddam Hussein, then chronicled the country’s descent into extended conflict.  He was seized by a militant group for a near-fatal 26 days in 2010.   Later that year the documentary he was making when held captive was shown on BBC World in two runs, including as a Film of the Year, and he continued to make numerous contributions to the BBC Radio’s flagship programme ‘From Our Own Correspondent’.   He filmed and reported from 2011 onwards at the forefront of events in the ‘Arab Spring’, especially in the key country, Egypt.

Three of his recent documentary films in the Middle East and South Africa have been  shown on the BBC and on ITV.  One film he initiated won the One World Media Award in the category of Women’s Rights in Africa, in May 2016. It was also awarded the Best Short Feature at the Association for International Broadcasting later that year.

PETER ARNETT

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Peter Arnett worked for National Geographic magazine, and later for various television networks, most notably CNN. He is well known for his coverage of war, including the Vietnam War and the Gulf War.

He was awarded the 1966 Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting for his work in Vietnam, where he was present from 1962 to 1975, most of the time reporting for the Associated Press news agency. In 1994, he wrote Live from the Battlefield: From Vietnam to Baghdad, 35 Years in the World’s War Zones. In March 1997, Arnett was able to interview Osama bin Laden. The Journalism School at the Southern Institute of Technology is named after him.  (All the above is from Peter Arnett’s Wikipedia entry.)

He became even more famous worldwide when he reported from Baghdad during the 2003 invasion of Iraq by US, British and Australian forces.  His reporting for NBC News was – infamously – cut by the American broadcaster because he had also given an interview to Iraqi Television.  Despite this, World News & Features (sister company to MediaZones) arranged for him to continue filing from Iraq during the war for a major Australian radio chain and a major British newspaper.

He subsequently wrote another book about his experiences, and  taught journalism at a large privately-owned Chinese university.  He was — and remains —  in demand across the world recounting his experiences and providing analysis on television and in all the media, so maintaining his very extensive contacts and goodwill worldwide.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Peter Arnett and former CBS News anchor Dan Rather discuss the crucial role of the media in shaping perceptions of the Vietnam War. The “War and the Fourth Estate” panel discussion on Tuesday, April 27, 2016 was moderated by Andrew Sherry, a former foreign correspondent who is now vice president of the Knight Foundation. The media discussion was part of the LBJ Presidential Library’s three-day Vietnam War Summit, with support from the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin. LBJ Library photo by Jay Godwin 04/27/2016.

Above: Peter Arnett (right) with legendary CBS News former president and anchor Dan Rather, at a panel discussion presented by the LBJ Presidential Library (April 2016), discuss the role of the media in shaping perceptions of the Vietnam War.

RICHARD DOVE

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For two decades Richard Dove worked as a producer, then as a senior broadcast executive, at the BBC, the world’s largest and most prestigious broadcasting organisation.

He was then hired to advise Aljazeera International on the setting up of its current affairs programming.   In 2005 he was appointed as the founding Editor of the channel’s flagship international current affairs programme, “People & Power”.   He ran this programme successfully, establishing extensive links with a wide range of top-quality television film-makers.  During his editorship at Aljazeera International’s “People & Power”, he also pioneered joint commissioning with the BBC’s main nightly current affairs television programme, Newsnight.

His experience at the BBC and at Aljazeera International has provided him with very extensive knowledge of how to develop and nurture strong reportage for television, and with a huge network of contacts within the broadcasting environment worldwide.

Establishing his own advisory company, he has consulted on the establishment of a network for delivery of English-language programming and reportage across Europe and within China for a major Hong Kong-based Chinese independent television company.

MOHAMED GOHAR

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As a very young media operator Gohar (he was always known by his surname) worked with President Anwar Sadat on the front-lines of the 1973 War.  A bubbly extrovert, he soon ran Egypt’s first and most successful facilities company, used by generations of the world’s top television reporters and producers.

As such he gained strong contacts with an unparalleled array of world broadcasters, from Aljazeera to most European and American TV networks, to Reuters, the world’s premier television news agency.

His services provided impartial, accurate and instantaneous coverage to a global audience, employing over 100 employees trained and skilled in operating modern broadcast facilities.

He was also a forerunner in encompassing diverse media genres for Arabic television output: from news and current affairs, to documentaries and drama.  He trained generations of broadcast journalists throughout his career, providing customised media and new media training to young journalists, civil society organisations, young community coordinators and students.

Belief in the power of media to impact change in society inspired him to launch the Civic Media Unit in 2008 focusing solely on media action for social change. The Unit pursued partnerships with development, humanitarian, and civil society organisations.

Gohar also co-produced The Station, the first Egyptian TV drama series to deal with socio-cultural issues ailing Egyptian society.

After nearly four decades in the Cairo hot-seat Gohar was inspired by the 2011 youth revolution against the Mubarak dictatorship to pour his own resources, money and skill into a pioneering, on-the-street satellite and internet television station.  A  challenge to the Establishment, it trained and empowered the young revolutionaries to present fresh views of their country’s tumultuous events.

For two nerve-wracking years  while facing increasing pressures, threats and even violence, he managed to keep the channel functioning – through skillful and brave crisis management.

Now based  in Latin America, he has been continued his involvement in production of motion pictures and documentaries.  In 2007 he co-produced The Bridge – a reality based documentary – with Common Ground Productions to ‘bridge’ the growing divide between American and Arab Islamic societies and reveal the common humanity of both cultures. More recently, he was a co-producer of the US television mini-series Missing, starring Kevin Costner.

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