On Wednesday 26 January, I will be speaking about the Media’s role in Libyan wars at the bastion of press freedoms, The Frontline Club, next to Paddington Station.
Many people will have read some of the captivating books by independent journalists, who covered the Arab Spring and embedded correspondents in the World War Desert Campaigns. Fewer will be aware of the influence of British and Irish journalists in the Libyan war of 1911-12 and know that the great newspaper editor and champion of the oppressed, WT Stead, wrote before he died on the Titanic: “Francis McCullagh, whose ready pen, whose fearless spirit and whose presence in the firing line has made it possible to make the great public realize the criminality of the plunder-raid on Tripoli”.
McCullagh’s voice was not solitary as he was joined in Libya by other distinguished British correspondents, including: George Abbott (Daily Chronicle and The Holy War In Tripoli), Ernest Bennett (Manchester Guardian and With the Turks in Tripoli), Alan Ostler (Daily Express and The Arabs In Tripoli), Henry Wright (Illustrated London News and Two Years Under The Crescent), Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett (Reuters and Daily Telegraph) and Tom Grant (Daily Mirror).
These journalists set a high bar for subsequent war correspondents embedded in the Allied armies that fought in the Libyan desert, such as William Massey, Alexander Clifford and Alan Moorehead, and those who covered the Gadhafi era and its aftermath. Discussing the difference between independent and embedded journalists, I will illustrate how press interpretations have influenced the way we think about Libya since the murder of PC Yvonne Fletcher and the Lockerbie bombing with unfortunate ramifications for the future of this fascinating country.
Tickets for the event that begins at 7.30 p.m. are available on The Frontline Club’s website: https://frontlineclub.glueup.com/event/book-talk-liberating-libya-48729