A couple of months ago a family member, who has been a former employee at the Embassy in Iran, gave me an advice I remember well and which I try to use, if I can: write about the country where you are. And so I did, in September I wrote an Op-Ed about Hungary, of which the English translation was posted here last week.
Now that I’m in London, I guess it wouldn’t harm writing about the UK. So, this evening I was flipping through the free newspaper, the London Evening Standard. Trying to ease my curiosity of what are the most recent developments in the Middle East and elsewhere around the world, I eagerly started looking for the International News section. As there it was… a whole two pages of this free 64-paged newspaper is dedicated to international news.
So, then, well, that news must be ABSOLUTELY thrilling! If only you knew…
Firstly, literally half of these two pages is dedicated to an advertisement for the movie Les Miserables.
Then, about 30% of the place goes to an article about two French actors (Mr Depardieu and Mrs Brigitte Bardot) who are being accused of having tried to avoid a (now unconstitutionally declared) supertax of 75% for the very rich. The heading: “Drama queens and kings are the new French aristocracy”.
A further 30% of the two pages goes to a picture of Venus Williams with remarks about her… hair.. during the preparation for the Australian Open.
Then 20% goes to the Delhi rape case.
Lastly, of the 20% that is remaining, a small picture goes to the Israeli PM Netanyahu playing in the snow with his family; three Kurdish women assassinated in Paris, 56 words about the Syrian crisis and 47 words (both including heading) about Pakistan accusing Indians troops of firing across the border in Kashmir.
Just as a comparison, the ads in this same newspaper which are dedicated to traveling to the Himalayas and the Caribbeans is (at least) 4 pages.
That is quite a scant coverage of the world news I would say; even for a free newspaper. Hopefully Londoners use — for they sure have — more channels to get informed about that is going on outside of their city and country; the Metro — the free morning newspaper — surely does not fill the Gap.