Rageh Omaar to give Huw Wheldon lecture

By Wale Azeez

BBC world affairs correspondent Rageh Omaar will present this year’s Huw Wheldon Memorial Lecture at the Royal Television Society’s biannual convention in Cambridge this week.

Omaar, who came to prominence while reporting on the second Gulf war from Baghdad this year, joins a distinguished list of journalists who have given the lecture that includes his BBC News colleagues John Simpson, Fergal Keane and political documentary maker Michael Cockerell, who presented in 1993, 1997 and 2000 respectively.

Omaar said it “was an honour to be asked” to give the lecture this year, and was looking forward to explaining to the audience what it was like to be reporting from Baghdad during the war.

“It’ll be very much a personal look at the war, and I’ll try to break down all the images and moments of the war and be looking at whether my television news reports fully explained the whole complexity of the war in Baghdad,” he told Press Gazette

He also said the lecture would examine whether reporting the war left viewers with a series of important moments without putting the conflict in context.

“I’ll be going back over the whole thing – the run up to the war, the actual war itself and the ‘shock and awe’ bombing. Did I get it right, did television serve the viewers, and also why is it that [Western] journalists stayed on in Baghdad? Did we serve a purpose by deciding to stay on?” he added.

He also said he would show clips and talk about aspects of the conflict that were not broadcast during the war.

The lecture, entitled Inside Saddam’s City, takes place on at 4.30pm on Thursday September 18, in the Music School, King’s College Cambridge.

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