The Missing Angle on the Arab Spring: The Soviet Era dissident’s tale

Recording One to One at Broadcasting House with Konstanty Gebert

I met renowned Polish Jewish journalist, Konstanty Gebert, from Gazeta Wyborcza at an EU conference for Arab journalists last year. His family had mostly died in the Warsaw Ghetto, his mother survived to take up arms with the Communists and fight the Nazis, and he shared lessons from own experience in the underground press in Poland in the 70s and 80s. Not surprisingly I thought he offered an important missing angle on coverage of the so-called Arab Spring, hence the decision to feature him on One to One on Radio 4. He offered insights into how to exploit police officers’ homophobia (hiding papers in his underwear) and explained his concerns about the difference between building support through the underground press and social media organised protests. His particular worry was that informers and supporters of the corrupt regime should not be left to continue in their positions. A trial might not be possible for them all, he acknowledges:  “Even bastards have rights,” he says, “but they don’t have to be paid a government salary”.  My original post about him and his lessons for building a free press is here.

Further reading

Listen to the BBC R4 interview here

One To One interview BBC Radio 4 (First broadcast March 20th 2012)

Independent newspaper profile of Konstanty Gebert (1999)

About samiraahmed

Journalist. Writer. Broadcaster.
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