Editorial note: This is from a live conference, quotes will be paraphrased due to this being a live blog.
War Reporter Oliver reported from Libya this year as is a war correspondent veteran. He was the Daily Telegraph Correspondent in Baghdad where he lived and wrote the well received book ‘Red Zone: Five bloody years in Baghdad’.
“When we arrived in Libya people turned up in cars helping us. People had never experienced the Western Media, but were also clever enough to know what we were trying to do. The great thing about Libya is that we could go anywhere, there was total open access and people were willing to talk. It made information gathering incredibly easy.”
“I don’t think any of us have an idea what is happening in Tripoli. We could get a good contextual understanding of what was happening however. There was no phone or internet access due to the military closing it down, although sometimes people did set up satellites. The idea that the social media had a huge involvement is a joke.”
“I had contextual understanding of the Middle East, but had never been to Libya. People in the east feel differently to people in the west – The way we reported was a sign of ignorance because we didn’t understand or know what was going on. When Cameron stated we would bomb Benghazi because there would be a slaughter, we knew they had left it until the last second. People were fleeing, it was likely there would be a massacre there.”
Writes Jon Dudley…
“We have the ability to be there at that time and state what is happening, and test the validity of statements being given.”
Oliver Poole was not available in public, but pre-recorded his interview. Despite this, the Conversation still is open to the public for questions and are instead answered by retired editor of the BBC College of Journalism Kevin Marsh.