The loss of an outstanding journalist

One of the UK’s finest and most controversial journalists, Robert Fisk died suddenly in a Dublin hospital on Sunday 30 October. Although born in Kent in July 1946, he later became an Irish citizen.

His career with the nationals began at the Sunday Express, (after learning his trade at the Newcasle Chronicle see: https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-top-hack-blasts-local-rags-9196235.html ) but he first distinguished himself in 1970s Belfast, having become the Northern Ireland correspondent for The Times in 1972. “I was astonished to see that I was reporting a war,” he said of his time reporting in Belfast. “I always refer to Northern Ireland as a war and not the Troubles.”

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Does the TV licence have a future – lessons from Sweden?

While the government is still deciding on whether to decriminalise non-payment of the television licence fee, following a public consultation earlier this year, the very future of the TV licence fee hangs in the balance. Although safe until the next BBC Charter Review in 2027, when the way the BBC is governed and funded is decided, government ministers are reported as saying they are “open minded” about how to fund the BBC from then onwards.

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We have been warned…again and again

BBC One’s screening on Sunday 14 September of Sir David Attenborough’s new documentary Extinction: The Facts left many viewers shocked, terrified and angry according to some press reports. The hour-long programme saw the legendary natural historian and fellow experts investigate the devastating effects of climate change and habitat loss on wildlife and plant life, and how it’s also impacting humanity and the planet.

Disturbing scenes saw Attenborough detail how a million different species are at risk of extinction due to the biodiversity crisis, which is also putting us at greater risk of pandemic diseases like COVID-19.

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