Judge Anver Jeevanjee, National Presedent & Founder of the CDAGM

Parvaneh Farid (Chairperson) & Honorine MacDonald (Hon. Secretary)

Wednesday, 29 April 2009


Date: Thursday 5th February 2009

Location: Southern Daily Echo, Redbridge, Southampton

Host: Southern Daily Echo

Time: 1300 – 1600


Parvaneh Farid (chairperson) Sangeeta Bhabra (ITV Meridian)

Jayanti Shah Annamarie Ewing

Anna Lindsay (BBC South) Keith Redbourne (Hampshire Chronicle)

Ping Hua Andy Lai

Marie Costa Don John

Munni Lamb Mo Blake (Salisbury Journal)

Robin Britton (ITV Meridian) Anver Jeevanjee

Mike Hapgood (BBC South) Stephen Bailey (Bmth Echo)

Honorine Djenaba-MacDonald Arif Nasser

Ian Murray (Soton Echo) Palo Almond


Charles Curry (New Milton Advertiser/Lymington Times)

Mark Jones (Basingstoke Gazette) Soraya Hamed Nasirizadeh

Michael Beard (The Argus, Brighton) Nashreen Issa

Toby Grant (Dorset Evening Echo) Yuri Layhe

Joe Scicluna (Andover Advertiser) Kiki Maurey

Alan Marriott (Isle of Wight County Press) Mohammed Riyami

Brien Beherall (Newbury Weekly News) Khatra Roles

Mark Waldron (The News, Portsmouth) Amarjit Singh

Graeme Moir (Reading Evening Post) Veena Spratt

Wangui Wan Goro

Matters arising from Last Minutes:

Parvaneh welcomed everyone to the meeting at the Southern Daily Echo offices in Newspaper House, Test Lane, Redbridge.

Anver mentioned that the election of Barack Obama In the United States owed a debt to Martin Luther King, and whereas the report of his election had been widely covered there had been no media attention paid to the anniversary event of Martin Luther King's death held at Westminster Hall and Abbey, which Anver had attended.

Minutes of Last Meeting and Book Launch were Accepted


Item 1 - Media Output Reports

BBC South

Mike reported that BBC annual savings set a target of 3%, which made it difficult to recruit new staff and in fact they were losing staff through voluntary redundancies and retirement. There were further problems for the BBC in the regions where talented staff from ethnic backgrounds were snapped up and taken to London. However, locally in the south BBC has two new weather presenters and one is from Pakistan. Other staff have been recruited from ethnic backgrounds and the BBC in the South has exceeded its targets for members of staff from ethnic backgrounds

Mike mentioned BBC coverage of Black History Month, Zimbabwe and also Barack Obama's stepmother. A large screen has been created in Portsmouth which was working well, however Southampton City Council have turned down a similar offer.

The BBC decision not to broadcast the appeal for Gaza had led to demonstrations in Oxford, a small demonstration at Caversham, but nothing in Southampton.

The group raised questions on Gaza, more local appeals for foreign disasters in general, the new BBC Persian TV Service, more representation of ethnic minorities at higher levels in BBC, the Obama election and its local impact, Carol Thatcher, coverage of human rights abuse in Iran, and the internal structure of culture of the BBC.

Southern Daily Echo – Notes taken by Honorine

Ian reiterated that he does not give a list of what Southern Daily Echo has done in terms of diversity. He acknowledged that they do make errors. He asked that people should raise issues as we go along, including ideas and suggestions, rather than storing them up to bring to such meetings – it is a learning process.

He mentioned that the challenges papers face are the serious credit crunch, a reduction in papers sold, lack of recruitment. His paper faces a similar situation to the BBC in terms of BME staff that are trained but subsequently ‘poached’. He is very conscious that the newsroom and the whole of the Echo do not fully represent the community they serve but have an open-door policy not a quota system. For example, the echo is involved with other media in recruitment, placement programmes for 15 year olds and above to get experience, going to schools to open youngsters’ eyes to the world of journalism, etc.

The other challenge is how to continue to provide coverage to the whole community in “shrinking” paper internally and externally. However, he is not giving up. The group asked questions on who to contact in papers, not enough take-up of local issues, questioned why newspapers were not up-front about the chances of getting items used, concerns over letters to newspapers appearing too right wing.

ITV Meridian

Robin explained changes to presenting at Meridian. Sangeeta will co-host Meridian with Fred Dinenage. Sangeeta explained how ITV are working to ensure coverage of diversity in the region by focusing on the drawing up of Diversity Contracts. Sangeeta explained how diversity is ingrained in the company including the appointment of a Diversity Manager. Meridian ITV are drawing up a strategy that all newsrooms will adhere to and there will be ITV fixers - campaign to show how people from communities are working to improve their communities. Meridian have introduced monitoring on ITV of diversity and diversity training is on-going as well as addressing ageism and disability (visit Diversity Forum at ITV.com). The group asked that ITV present more positive images of cultures and not just controversial issues.

Around the Table

The following issues were raised as possible stories or items for considerations by the CDAGM:

v Munni: The anniversary of the Iranian revolution and its history, and how we came to the present day situation. Coverage of the Iranian New Year.

v Munni: Focus on Crime Stoppers as a group - non-police

v Palo: Focus on the United Nations Association - she is giving a talk on global health issues affecting women at 12 noon on 21st February, Baptist Church, Bedford Place, Southampton.

v Palo: Health and inequalities of post-natal depression - difficulties in getting access to services for minority groups.

v Anver: Derogatory language (Paki/Golliwog) is an imprisonable offence - careful it does not creep into newspapers.

v Keith: Called on members to contact him for Hampshire Chronicle with good news as well as the negative.

v Annamarie: In September the school curriculum for secondary schools will widen to look more at diversity issues.

v Steven: Found the meeting very interesting. Agreed to talk to his editor about topics raised.

v Barbara: List of ideas for the communities she works with:

(1) Cross-cultural love stories - five years of young people in relationships, and how love overcame barriers. Club and baby club now formed.

(2) Polish returning home, turbulent relationship with Polish Government - Prime Minister calling them home - not many going. Polish Consul to visit Southampton.

(3) Exploitation of Polish women - light at the end of the tunnel.

v Don: Headlines on stories can cause inflammation - care needed.

v Ian: Voiced concerns over xenophobia as recession bites. Agreed to supply name of Communities Reporter to group contacts.

v Maria: African Women's Forum, Portsmouth - looking to stage a series of African films made in Africa. Coverage needed to provide support.

v Africapella singing - includes people from all backgrounds singing in the community - all are volunteers.

v Call on schools to give more coverage to United Nations and how it was founded.

v Andy: Chinese Association happy to liaise with other groups. China earthquake 12th May anniversary - he may visit to donate money raised.

v Don: One in every ten families is of mixed race - Southampton has a higher number compared to other cities.

v BBC: Now using their production shows - Big Question - showing other ways of becoming involved with the BBC.

v Jayanti: Must take a lesson from the election of Obama in America - everyone considers themselves American. In Britain the media decides that people are minorities when we are all British.

v Parvanah: Although we live here and are local, we are affected by what has happened at home. Issued open letter from Iranian academics and journalists.

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