Environmental journalist Gayathri Vaidyanathan considers the impact of Philosophy and Religion on animals as food. In and around Chennai in India, she reveals how India is managing a terrible dilemma in the massive rise of buffalo meat production next to the catastrophe of animal welfare and environmental pollution. She talks to Jains, Hindus and Buddhists and visits fast food restaurants where young people associate eating burgers with independence and modernity. She also spends time at a pioneering dairy along with one of the many animal sanctuaries in the city.
Producer: Rose de Larrabeiti and Kate Bland
(Photo: Buffalo market in Chennai)
Dominion: The animals and the linguists
Zimbabwean author and essayist Panashe Chigumadzi asks what part Language plays in our regard for other animals. In wild animal reserves in the south of the country, she talks to ethologists to understand lions, rhinos and vultures. She asks if our greatest problem in entering the mind of another animal has been its inability to communicate as we do? She looks to her ancestral culture of animal totems and praise poems, and the relatively recent explosion of scientific interest in the animal’s point of view
Contributors include animal behaviourists Frans de Waal, Peter Mundy, Noxolo Mguni, Beks Ndlovo, Francoise Wemelsfelder, Ian Harmer and Anele Matshisela.
Producer: Kate Bland
(Photo: Panashe Chigumadzi and rhinos in Matopos Park, Zimbabwe)
Dominion: The animals and the lawyers
Science writer Heidi Ledford travels to the Hague, centre of political power in the Netherlands and home to the Party for the Animals. She’s shown around the House of Representatives by Marianne Thieme, leader of the party, who describes the resistance to her work, and the terrible impact of factory farming on climate change. She is passionate to represent the voiceless in society: “Once you have them covered, everyone is protected.”
Along with exploring ways in which laws protect animals collectively, Heidi turns to the work of animal rights lawyers who are seeking ways for animals to be considered persons, at which point they stop being ‘things’. She considers Happy, the 48-year-old Asian elephant who lives alone in the Bronx Zoo, who is at the centre of an important case of legal personhood. The hard work has been in the hands of Steven Wise, a non-human animal rights lawyer, who has been working for the recognition of animals as persons for 30 years. Wise draws attention to the fact that many animals meet the criteria of personhood, and must be awarded certain rights and protections or the rest of law becomes a nonsense.
Producer: Kate Bland and Victoria Shepherd
Image: A baby Asian elephant walking with its herd at the Minneriya National Park in north central Sri Lanka (Credit: Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty Images)
Media Front: USA
With 14 months to go until the next US presidential election, former foreign correspondent Andrea Catherwood finds out how the American media is preparing for the forthcoming onslaught.
In this programme, looking at current media issues in countries around the world, Andrea hears from key media insiders about how Donald Trump will control his message, what power remains with local media players and how Facebook will play its part in determining the next leader of the most powerful nation on earth. Andrea is joined by Emily Bell, a professor at Columbia Journalism School, to discuss what lessons have been learned by the American media from the last presidential election and considers what media channels and communication methods will be exploited by politicians in next year's race for the White House.
(Photo: Donald Trump argues with CNN journalist Jim Acosta in November 2018. Credit: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
Media Front: Ukraine
Former International Correspondent for CNBC and ITN Andrea Catherwood hears from journalists on both sides of the information war in Ukraine.
The war in Ukraine began in April 2014 after the country elected a pro-Western leadership and Moscow supported uprisings in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking eastern provinces which culminated in Donetsk and Luhansk declaring themselves as breakaway independent ‘republics’. From the beginning Russia’s powerful propaganda machine played a crucial role in the conflict. Casting the government in Kiev as a fascist ‘junta’ it helped fan the flames of unrest that quickly grew into a full scale war, supported with men and weapons shipped in from Russia. Five years on, 13,000 people have been killed in the fighting, which despite international peace efforts still grinds on, and the propaganda war is as bitter as ever.
In the third programme of this series examining some of the big issues facing journalists around the world, Andrea Catherwood considers how media organisations maintain ethical standards in a such a polarised information environment. We head to the Ministry of Information Policy—the government department tasked with the job of protecting Ukraine’s information space—to meet First Deputy Minister Emine Dzhaparova. Behind the frontline, in Russian speaking Luhansk and Donetsk, where Ukrainian television is blocked, a local journalist shares their perspective and experience.
In July this year Reporters Without Borders warned that the editorial independence of Ukraine’s news media was under threat after 400 journalists resigned over concerns that their new boss was using censorship and media manipulation to try to bring Ukraine back into the area of Russian political influence. We hear the first hand account of one of those who resigned.
(Photo: Activists of Ukrainian far-rignt party National Corps demand closure of pro-Russian TV channels outside the State Commitee for Television and Radio Broadcasting for Ukraine in Kiev, 2019. Credit: Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images)