News Reporting and Navigating Risk: Is Gender a Factor?

• June 23rd, 2015

This event is organised by the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) and the Frontline Freelance Register (FFR).


Every year, women journalists are killed, assaulted, threatened and defamed – all in pursuit of the truth. Many of these journalists face not only the implicit dangers of hostile environments, but cultural and social prejudices that would keep them silent.

Now more than ever, female journalists are responsible for covering the world’s most challenging hostile environments yet remain under represented in the global news media at large; identifying the types of threats women journalists face and how to address those threats is key to greater gender equality in the global news media.

News Reporting and Navigating Risk will be a moderated discussion with accomplished journalists who have reported from hostile environments around the world about their experiences with a focus on best practices for security, emotional self care, and access to medical, mental health, and emergency resources.

Chaired by Elisa Lees Munoz, the executive director of the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF).

The panel:

Alison Baskerville is an FFR board member and a documentary photographer.

Nadine Marroushi has worked for 8 years as a journalist writing about the Middle East and Africa.

Richard Spencer is the Middle East editor for The Telegraph.

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Dead When I Got Here Q&A with director Mark Aitken

• June 22nd, 2015

Compassion and self-affirmation are discovered by a man as he manages a mental asylum run by its own patients in Juárez, Mexico – the world’s most violent city. Juárez, a city that borders the United States, is at once a place of diverse culture and tradition and a site of desperation and rampant poverty.

Ill and weathered by decades of drug use, police cast Josué out of the deadly streets of Juárez into the desert, where they left him in a mental asylum governed by its own patients. Six years later, Josué manages the asylum. Now it is his job to give medicine to the sick; to help them walk; to assist them in recovering from the same trauma he experienced while living on the streets.

Attempting to reconcile his broken history, Josué dreams of his estranged daughter in California – who he last saw 22 years ago. He asks Aitken to look for his daughter, who posts pictures on the internet in the hope that she will reach out. Josué and his daughter make contact and agree to meet. The itinerant father knows he cannot explain his absence, but perhaps forgiveness can lead to a new beginning.

Ed Vulliamy is a writer for The Guardian and The Observer. In 2013, he won the award for literary reporting named after the Polish writer Ryszard Kapuściński for his book Amexica: War Along the Borderline, a vivid dissection of the violent US-Mexico ‘war on drugs’.

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Al Jazeera Preview Screening: Chechnya, War Without Trace + Q&A

• June 12th, 2015

In the space of just a few years, Chechnya has undergone a remarkable transformation. Gone are the minefields and piles of rubble, which have now been replaced by broad avenues, luxury boutiques and glass-fronted skyscrapers. It’s virtually impossible to see that there was ever a war.

Award-winning journalist Manon Loizeau has spent the past 20 years covering the Chechen conflict. In Chechnya, War Without Trace she returns to the places she knew well, filming undercover, to examine the lasting effects of conflict with Russia.

Behind the gleaming facade of the new Grozny, Loizeau discovers women and men seemingly more terrified now than during all the years of war and occupation. Although a fifth of the population vanished during the war, a fear of persecution has led to a collective forgetting of history.

Loizeau mixes the moving stories of those who search in vain for their loved ones with footage capturing the newly-polished surface of Chechnya, a country that remains internally traumatised and restless.

Chechnya, War Without Trace won the Grand Prize of the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) at 2015 FIFDH (Human Rights Forum and Film Festival) in Geneva.

The film shows as part of the Witness strand on Al Jazeera on 17th June at 9pm.

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In the Picture with Zalmaï: Afghanistan – Dread and Dreams

• June 10th, 2015

Internationally renowned Afghan-born photographer Zalmaï has spent years capturing the human cost of disintegration and dispossession caused by war around the world. In a new body of work, entitled Dread and Dreams, he turns his lens to his own country to capture life in Afghanistan against the backdrop of the 14-year US-led invasion.

The photographs, taken between 2008 and 2013, paint two portraits of Afghanistan. On one side, the stark reality for the millions of Afghan refugees who have returned to their country since 2002, only to find they cannot go back to their homes. On the other, Zalmaï takes us away from the monumental humanitarian crisis exasperated by war to reveal signs of a new and positive life force permeating the country, and to spotlight the hopes and dreams of the Afghan people.

At a time when the world is turning away from Afghanistan, this work goes beyond the headlines to reveal the ongoing struggle in the country. Zalmaï will be joining us in conversation with editor-in-charge of Reuters Wider Image, Alexia Singh, to present this deeply personal and humanistic body of work of Afghan refugees, by an Afghan refugee.

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Exploration in the Arctic: Past, Present and Future

• June 9th, 2015

Continuing the Exploration at the Frontline collaboration between the Frontline Club and the Scientific Exploration Society, BBC Science editor David Shukman will chair a panel of explorers, scientists, reporters and experts to better understand how Arctic exploration has changed over the years.

The panel will discuss how knowledge and understanding of environmental impact, extraction of resources and geopolitical issues have moulded the region, and what the consequences are for those of us watching from afar. With oil firm Royal Dutch Shell having recently won conditional approval from the US Department of Interior to explore for oil in the Arctic, we will be asking what this kind of exploration means for the region.

This event will be chaired by BBC Science editor David Shukman, whose reports on research have taken him as far afield as the Antarctic ice-sheet, the Amazon rainforest and the depths of the Gulf of Mexico. Since joining the BBC in 1983, he has covered Northern Ireland, defence, Europe and world affairs. He is author of An Iceberg As Big As Manhattan: Reporting from science’s new frontlines and Reporting Live from the End of the World.

The panel:

Pen Hadow is an Arctic Ocean explorer and advocate. He is the founder and leader of the multi-award winning Catlin Arctic Survey (2007-2013), an international research programme on the Arctic Ocean, and the associated environmental research-sponsorship agency, Geo Mission. A decade on, Pen Hadow remains the only person to have reached the North Geographic Pole, solo and without resupply, from Canada.

Professor Martin Siegert FRSE is co-director of the Grantham Institute. Previously, he was director of the Bristol Glaciology Center at Bristol University and head of the School of GeoSciences at Edinburgh University. His particular field of expertise is to use geophysics to measure the subglacial landscape and understand what this tells us about changes to the environment. In 2013 he was awarded the Martha T. Muse Prize for excellence in Antarctic science and policy, and in 2007 he was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Charles Emmerson is a writer and historian based in London. He is the author of The Future History of the Arctic, exploring the past, present and future of our relationship with the Arctic, from past mythologies of the north to the modern emergence of the Arctic as a zone of geopolitical interest and massive environmental change. He is an Associate Fellow at Chatham House.

Frank Hewetson has worked for Greenpeace for over 25 years. He has particular knowledge of protest against the off-shore oil industry, he has spent many months at sea and worked consistently on the Arctic campaign for the last 5 years, and was one of the ‘Arctic 30’ detained by the Russians in September 2013.

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The Defector – Escape from North Korea Q&A with director Ann Shin

• June 5th, 2015

As the leadership in North Korea changes and Kim Jong-un takes the helm, a man who goes by the name of Dragon smuggles North Korean defectors across borders. His latest trip with two women, Sook-Ja and Yong-hee, takes an unexpected turn when they are left stranded in China. This is only the beginning of an extraordinary 5,000 km journey. Their story reflects the reality of tens of thousands of North Koreans currently in hiding in China.

Dragon sees himself as a human rights activist, whilst acknowledging that many people look poorly on brokers who charge defectors money for freedom. His work is illegal and his true motivations questionable, but many defectors come to him to seek an escape from China and a world of uncertainty. A North Korean defector himself, Dragon was once part of a commando unit that trained under then President Kim Jong-il. The experience has enabled him to assist hundreds of North Korean defectors.

Korean-Canadian filmmaker Ann Shin gains intimate access with these three individuals, taking the journey alongside them while filming undercover and navigating the risk of exposing the defectors and their guide. Beautifully shot, with a compelling high-stakes story, The Defector poses broad questions around human smuggling and the pursuit of freedom. The film has been selected for 20 international festivals and has been nominated for 7 awards, winning the Canadian Digi Awards and the FITC Awards.

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First Wednesday Preview Screening: The Road to Mosul, VICE News + Panel Discussion

• June 3rd, 2015

One year on from the Islamic State’s (IS) seizure of Mosul, the coalition’s chances of recapturing the city seem further away than ever. The Pentagon’s optimistic hopes of a spring 2015 assault on the city have been dashed by the failure of the Iraqi Army further south in Anbar province. The Kurdish Peshmerga fighters who have almost surrounded the city in a 1000km long front line will now have to defend their trench positions against IS counterattacks until the Iraqi Army is finally fit for battle, at some unknown future date.


With rare access to the Peshmerga on the front lines of the war against the IS, The Road to Mosul unveils the reality of the Kurds’ war against the group, providing a portrait of ordinary volunteers, poorly trained and equipped, locked in stalemate against a powerful enemy. The film also captures the impact of the war on the civilians caught in between.

Chaired by Kevin Sutcliffe, the head of news programming for VICE EU.

The panel:

Frederick Paxton is a filmmaker and photographer for VICE News. He has worked in Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan and other locations.

Professor Toby Dodge is director of the Middle East Centre at LSE and author of Iraq: From War to a New authoritarianism.

Anthony Loyd is roving foreign correspondent for The Times and author of My War Gone By I Miss It So and Another Bloody Love Letter.

Patrick Cockburn is an Irish journalist who has been a Middle East correspondent for the Financial Times and, since 1991, The Independent.

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Insight with William Dalrymple: Return of a King

• June 2nd, 2015

The London Press Club and the Frontline Club are proud to present a talk from award-winning writer and historian William Dalrymple.

Now based in Delhi, Dalrymple joins us for a special event to discuss his most recent, acclaimed book Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan, 1839-42, the definitive analysis of the First Anglo-Afghan War. He will discuss parallels with current events in both Afghanistan and the UK, before taking questions from the audience.

A recipient of the Wolfson Prize, a Foreign Press Association Media Award and five honorary doctorates, Dalrymple is also a founder and co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival. His previous books include The Last Mughal: The Fall of a DynastyDelhi, 1857 and Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India.

The event is the latest in a series of debates, talks and Q&As from the London Press Club, with previous speakers including Alan Rusbridger, Sarah Sands, David Dinsmore and India Knight. For more information visit londonpressclub.co.uk.

London Press Club members can reserve a free space by emailing info@londonpressclub.co.uk and can buy any additional tickets here.

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The Frontline Club and Monocle 24 present: Crisis in the Mediterranean

• May 28th, 2015

War, economic crisis, political repression and environmental degradation are pushing increasing numbers of people to make the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean to Europe.

Since the beginning of the year alone it is believed that 1,700 people have perished at sea. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) believe that number might reach 30,000 by the end of the year if the current rate continues.

For May’s First Wednesday we will be bringing together a panel of experts to answer your questions about the unfolding crisis. We will be examining the root causes of the current situation and looking at the measures that need to be taken to avoid the 30,000 deaths the IOM predicts.

Chaired by executive editor of Monocle and host of Monocle 24’s The Foreign Desk, Steve Bloomfield.

The panel:

Maurice Wren is the chief executive of the Refugee Council, one of the leading organisations working with refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. Previously he was director of Asylum Aid and held senior management roles at Shelter and the Housing Associations Charitable Trust.

Patrick Kingsley is The Guardian’s Egypt correspondent. For 2015, he is also the paper’s acting migration correspondent. He’s the winner of the Frontline award for print journalism. And he was named young journalist of the year at the 2014 British Press awards, new journalist of the year at the 2013 British Journalism awards, and new voice of the year at the One World media awards.

Cathryn Costello is Andrew W Mellon Associate Professor of International Human Rights and Refugee Law, and a fellow of St Antony’s College. From 2003 – 2013, she was Francis Reynolds Fellow and Tutor in EU and Public Law at Worcester College, Oxford, during which time she also completed her DPhil studies on EU asylum and immigration law.

Quentin Peel is Mercator senior fellow at the Royal Institute for International Affairs, Chatham House, and a freelance commentator for the Financial Times. In a long career at the FT he was correspondent in Berlin, Bonn, Brussels and Moscow. He was also Africa editor, correspondent in Johannesburg, foreign editor and chief foreign affairs columnist.

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Insight with Åsne Seierstad: One of Us

• May 26th, 2015

n 22 July 2011, Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 of his fellow Norwegians in an atrocity that shocked the world. As Breivik was put on trial, Norway attempted to understand what drove him to his heinous actions.

Based on extensive testimonies and interviews, award-winning foreign correspondent Åsne Seierstad’s new book, One of Us, offers a definitive account of this tragic episode in Norway’s history. She will be joining us in conversation with John Lloyd, contributing editor to the Financial Times and director of Journalism at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, to share her research and talk about what she discovered about Breivik, his ideology and the world he grew up in.

In addition to offering the reader a picture of Breivik, Seierstad also explores the lives of his victims – presenting a story of community versus isolation, hope versus rejection, love versus bigotry – and a powerful memorial to those who lost their lives.

Åsne Seierstad is an internationally bestselling author, she has also received numerous awards for her journalism. She has worked as a correspondent in Russia, China, the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq. She is the author of With their Backs to the World: Portraits from SerbiaA Hundred and One Days: A Baghdad JournalThe Angel of Grozny and and the bestselling The Bookseller of Kabul. She is currently working on a book about Libya and the aftermath of Gaddafi.

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Syria: Beyond the Red Line

• May 21st, 2015

ontinues to devastate the lives of its population. In what can only be described as one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent history, more than 200,000 have died and 12.2 million are now in desperate need of aid.

The levels of suffering are unimaginable and yet the international community seems to be standing by. Over four years since the conflict in Syria began, we will be asking if there is any sign of light at the end of the tunnel.

We will be reflecting on the decisions that have been made and how they have contributed to the current state of affairs in Syria. With that understanding, we will look at the situation in the country today and how developments could be made.

Chaired by Owen Bennett-Jones, freelance journalist and host of Newshour on the BBC World Service. As a correspondent with the BBC he has reported from over 60 countries. He is author of Pakistan: Eye of the Storm and his first novel Target Britain.

The panel:

Jonathan Littell is a novelist and journalist. He is the author of Syrian Notebooks: Inside the Homs Uprising, documenting his time in Hom in 2012. His novel The Kindly Ones, originally published in French as Les Bienveillantes, became a bestseller and won the coveted Prix Goncourt and the Académie Française’s Prix de Littérature. Previously he worked for a humanitarian agency, Action Contre La Faim, in Bosnia, Chechnya, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Orwa Nyrabia is a Syrian film producer and activist. Born in 1977, raised in Homs, he lived in Damascus until the end of 2013. An actor by training, he worked as a journalist, and since 2005 has dedicated most of his time to documentary, producing the award-winning Silvered Water and Return to Homs. As an activist, he was a board member of the Syrian revolution’s leading constellation, Local Coordination Committees (LCC), served as LCC’s head of humanitarian aid and is associated with the Violations Documentation Center, a Syrian independent human rights organisation.

Laila Alodaat is a Syrian human rights lawyer specialising in international law of armed conflicts. She is also a trainer of international humanitarian law and has worked on several conflict situations including Syria, Libya, Iraq and Pakistan. She currently works on the MENA agenda programme at the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and is also the Chair person of Syria Justice and Accountability Centre and a board member of Badael, a Syrian organisation working to promote non-violence.

Nerma Jelacic is a former journalist who has spent the last 15 years working on war crimes and criminal justice issues in conflict and post-conflict countries. From 2008 to 2014 she worked for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia before joining the Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA), an organisation investigating and documenting atrocities in Syria which has already resulted in the completion of three trial-ready case-files.

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In Conversation with Emma Sky: Iraq – The Unravelling

• May 20th, 2015

In what was only meant to be a three month trip, Emma Sky travelled to Iraq in 2003 having volunteered to help rebuild the country immediately after the invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein. She soon found herself as a political advisor to the US military and three months turned into a decade.

Over her time in Iraq she witnessed the American efforts to transform the country, the insurgencies and slide into civil war, the planning and implementation of the surge, the subsequent drawdown of US troops, and finally the takeover of a third of the country by the Islamic State.

Sky will be joining us in conversation with The Guardian‘s Middle East editor, Ian Black to share her unique insight into the US military, and the complexities, diversity and evolution of Iraqi society as documented in her new book The Unraveling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq.

Emma Sky is a Senior Fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute. She worked in the Middle East for twenty years and was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services in Iraq.

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In Hock to the Oligarchs?

• May 1st, 2015

This event is organised by Standpoint magazine.

David Cameron has subsequently agreed to EU sanctions and travel bans have been imposed on Russian officials. But would our response have been stronger were it not for the importance of Russian money to London?

Russians are granted more investor visas than any other nationality; Russians buy London property, send their children to British schools and hire British lawyers and bankers. For some, Britain has become a shamelessly mercenary country, putting financial gain before morality.

Others argue that the government is right to put growth first; its obligations are to the British people, who are interested in their livelihoods, not the legality of a referendum in Crimea. Are sanctions even the best approach? With them comes the risk of isolating Putin, making a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis less likely.

Standpoint magazine brings together a distinguished panel to debate Britain’s response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Chaired by Daniel Johnson, the founding editor of Standpoint. He covered the end of the Cold War for The Daily Telegraph and is the author of White King and Red Queen: How the Cold War was Fought on a Chess Board.

The panel:

Ben Judah has reported for Standpoint from Russia and Ukraine. He is the author of Fragile Empire: How Russian Fell In And Out Of Love With Vladimir Putin.

Tony Brenton worked for 30 years for the Foreign Office and was British Ambassador in Russia from 2004 to 2008. In 2007 he was awarded a KCMG. He is now extraordinary fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge.

Roger Boyes is diplomatic editor at The Times. Previously he has worked as a foreign correspondent in Eastern Europe, Berlin and Rome.

Peter Hitchens is a journalist, broadcaster and author. He is a columnist on the Mail on Sunday and has worked as a foreign correspondent in Moscow and Washington.

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Insight with Christina Lamb: Farewell Kabul

• April 28th, 2015

For over two decades, Christina Lamb has reported from Afghanistan, with unparalleled access to all key decision makers. She has developed an extensive understanding of the country, its people and the ongoing conflict.

In her new book Farewell Kabul: From Afghanistan to a More Dangerous World, she offers her final analysis of the realities of Afghanistan. She tells the story of well-intentioned men and women going into a place they did not understand, thinking it was the right thing to do, and how it became a conflict that everyone wanted to exit.

Christina Lamb will be joining us in conversation with BBC Radio 4 Today programme presenter, Sarah Montague, to give her personal account of the longest war fought by the United States in its history, and by Britain since the Hundred Years War. She will offer her insight into the mistakes made, the lessons learned and the Afghanistan that is left behind.

Christina Lamb is the roving foreign affairs correspondent for The Sunday Times, she has been a foreign correspondent for more than twenty five years, living in Pakistan, Brazil and South Africa first for the Financial Times then The Sunday Times. She is the author of The Africa House,House of Stone: The True Story of a Family Divided in War-torn ZimbabweWaiting For Allah: Pakistan’s Struggle for DemocracyThe Sewing Circles of HeratMy Afghan Years and co-author of I Am Malala.

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Saudi Arabia: A Kingdom in Peril?

• April 27th, 2015

The new leader of Saudi Arabia, King Salman, pledged continuity after his accession to the throne following the death of his half-brother, King Abdullah. But with a growing youth population, faint calls for reforms, an unstable oil market and the Islamic State (IS) on its doorstep, will he be able to deliver his pledge?

The House of Saud has survived the events of the Arab Spring intact, but with a changing Middle East and the establishment of IS with strong ties to Saudi Arabia, is the kingdom in peril?

With a panel of experts we will be looking at the situation within Saudi Arabia and the changes we might see under the new king, as well as discussing its influence and actions in the region and relations with the West.

Chaired by Owen Bennett-Jones, freelance journalist and host of Newshour on the BBC World Service. As a correspondent with the BBC he has reported from over 60 countries. He is author of Pakistan: Eye of the Storm and his first novel Target Britain.

The panel:

Safa Al Ahmad is a Saudi freelance journalist. She has spent the last three years covertly filming Saudi’s Secret Uprising. Her 2012 film Al Qaeda in Yemen was a finalist for the Sony Impact Award 2012 and nominated for the News and Documentary Emmy Award. Her essay Wishful Thinking on the Arab uprisings and Saudi Arabia was published in the English Pen Award-winning anthology Writing Revolutions.

Sir William Patey served as UK ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 2007 – 10. Previous appointments in the diplomatic service include ambassador to Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan. He is now government and international affairs adviser at Control Risks, a director at WCP Consultants and a non-executive director of HSBC Middle East and HBME.

Robert Lacey is a historian and author of numerous books including The Kingdom and Inside the Kingdom. In 1979, he moved with his family to Saudi Arabia for eighteen months to research The Kingdom. He returned in 2005 and spent three years based in Jeddah and Riyadh, gathering material for the sequel, Inside the Kingdom, on the Saudi role in the post 9/11 years. Both books have been banned in Saudi Arabia.

Carool Kersten is a senior lecturer in the study of Islam & the Muslim world at King’s College London. Trained as an Arabist in the Netherlands, he lived and worked in Saudi Arabia for ten years, before returning to academia, obtaining a PhD from SOAS and taking his present position at King’s. His latest publication, a three-volume anthology entitled The Caliphate and Islamic Statehood, was released last week.

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