Martin Bell has told a room full of Balkans journalists here in Sarajevo that they have nothing to learn from Britain when it comes to either media or politics. Martin and I are in Bosnia’s capital for a conference on politics and journalism. You only have to look at the town parks full of gravestones to realise how much politics matters in a place like this. Martin is steeped in the history of this place, of course, as the famous white-suited correspondent for the BBC who did so much to change public opinion about intervention in the bloody Yougoslav wars of the 1980s. As an independent MP he did much to counter the ‘sleaze’ culture of the 1990s in the ruling Conservative Party. So it is not surprising that he takes a moral stance on current media and governance in the UK. He thinks it is the worst it has ever been. Talking to Balkans journalists, however, I get the impression that we all have a lot to learn and that Martin may be over-stating the case. More later.
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