channel 4

Giving the ‘Unreported World’ a voice

Reporters from the Channel 4 documentary series ‘Unreported World’ tell us the difficulties and challenges they faced whilst filming for this season’s episodes.

The talk began with showings of clips from the 2011 series of Unreported World, including ‘Nigeria’s Millionaire Preachers’, ‘Uganda’s Miracle Babies’, ‘Undercover Syria’ and ‘Russia: Vlad’s Army’, some of which have not been shown on Channel 4 yet.

The newbee of the series Krishnan Guru-Murthy joined Oliver Steeds, Jenny Kleeman, Peter Oborne, Ramita Navai, Seyi Rhodes and Evan Williams, to enlighten the audience on the world of journalism and documentary-making.

Reporting for Unreported World poses many risks and challenges for crew and reporter. Seyi Rhodes said that there were physical and cultural challenges to filming in Nigeria. Floods prevented the ease of movement and certain churches were wary of being interviewed.

Jenny Kleeman said that the surgeon featured in one of her documentaries was so camera-shy, that it was difficult to film him. There were also language barriers, as it was hard to find an interpreter who spoke all the different languages of the interviewees.

Some of the Aboriginal people who were interviewed in Australia were hesitant as they feared being misrepresented, says Oliver Steeds. They had been filmed by Western film crews before, and commented ‘no-one ever asks us what we think.’

Ramita Navai commented on how emotional filming ‘Undercover Syria’ was for her. She had been in Iran during the revolution, and could relate to the people who wanted change.

The reporters encouraged anyone who has the same ambition as them, to get out there and start filming. They reminded them to stay objective. Jenny Kleeman advised one viewer to watch documentaries and analyse them, “even watching a bad documentary is useful because you can work out why its bad.”

Changes that new technology has made to journalism was highlighted by a member of the audience. The reporters responded by saying that now the people they interview can also see the end product. This pushes them to be more responsible.

The aim of the documentaries, according to Oliver Steeds, is to “give them (people) a voice.”