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Detroit – water not flowing

by Francis Mead Motown = Motor City = famous artists = cars = shut-off water supplies = UN = human rights. Huh? Detroit combines all of the above.    Two UN human rights reporters – officially they're called "Special Rapporteurs" – visited the Michigan city recently, after local groups appealed to them for help. Why? Because [...]

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Preserving the Forests in the Solomon Islands

by Gill Fickling Eight pm on a Friday evening.  My skype pings with an incoming message.  It's my cameraman/fixer, Wade Fairley, in the Solomon Islands where I'm due to be joining him the following Monday to shoot two stories for "21st Century".  There's been a tragedy.  The small boat we were to travel in the [...]

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Akhtar’s Story

by GILL FICKLING When I first met Akhtar in 2009, he was dirty, hungry, disillusioned and scared.   He was then living in a squalid camp of flimsy cardboard boxes in Greece's western port city, Patras, along with 1600 other Afghan boys and men who, like him, had come with hope of finding a new life [...]

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The Women Shepherds of Somaliland

by Francis Mead We won’t forget Beerato. It’s a village in central Somaliland. Dust, sheep, goats, camels – and bold women, insisting on changing their lives – and knowing how to party – dancing, singing and clapping in the Sufi style. Cameraman Antonio Tibaldi and I arrived in a UN four-by-four. We had to bring [...]

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SOUTH AFRICA: From Victim to Victor

PRODUCER: GILL FICKLING At the deserted end of a beach east of Cape Town, the waves crashing in front against a backdrop of the city's most famous landmark, Table Mountain, Oyama Mbopa danced. In her head, she sang the Brenda Fassie song "Memeza", about a woman's cry for help when she is attacked. Oyama, herself [...]

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A young man and a fearful mother on the West Bank

by Francis Mead In the midst of violent conflict, one of the hardest things is to be a parent. At the best of times, in the most peaceful places, teenagers and young people can get into trouble. But in the middle of the Arab-Israeli conflict, getting into trouble can mean being killed, maimed or jailed. [...]

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To sing or sign?

It was a late call – could I go to Minnesota to film the deaf, Finnish rapper for the last two days of his US tour? I wasn't quite as fazed by this request as you might guess: I'd seen the poster for Signmark when he'd passed by the UN in New York – but [...]

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Water or coal? South Africa’s dilemma

by Gill Fickling The explosion was deafening … the ground shook … and thick black dust fell from the ceiling. Nobody dived under the table, or ran for cover. In fact, nobody flinched as this was all part of daily life. No, we weren't filming in a war-zone but in South Africa, at the home [...]

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E-mail, shooting and the Moscow rush-hour – without vision

by Francis Mead One of the things about Anatoliy is you can e-mail him and he can e-mail you back. Which sounds completely trivial – except that Anatoliy Popko is blind. So how does he do it? It's all down to voice recognition software – something called JAWS (Job Access with Speech). He showed me when [...]

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Pakistan: Wagah Border Ceremony

by Mary Ferreira Lahore, Pakistan – Thousands of spectators on both sides of the border – Pakistan and India – cheer as soldiers representing both nations participate in a ceremony which ends in a perfectly coordinated lowering of the two nations’ flags. Called the beating retreat border ceremony, one infantryman or Jawan stands at attention [...]

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UN reporters in their own words

Travelling the globe to highlight some of the world's most important and under-reported stories. Giving their eye-witness accounts from the field.

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