Bringing War Home: Storytellers of Our Times
The inaugural Peter Stursberg Foreign Correspondents Lecture was delivered by Lyse Doucet, the BBC’s award-winning Chief International Correspondent and Senior Presenter for BBC World News television and BBC World Service radio on November 8, 2017 at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. The evening was moderated by Paul Kennedy, the host of the CBC Radio program Ideas.
“Wars are filled with stories about families trying to survive and fighters who want to go home.”
Much has changed from Peter Stursberg’s days of typewriters and recording trucks on the European front. But as Lyse Doucet delivered the inaugural lecture in Peter Stursberg’s honour, she made it clear that the mission of foreign correspondents hasn’t changed: to tell the truth about what is happening in the world.
“Wars are filled with stories about families trying to survive and fighters who want to go home,” she told a standing-room-only crowd at the Canadian’s War Museum’s Barney Danson Theatre. “Wars are monstrous. Peter reported from a gaping hole in a farmhouse wall. Today, we see towns and cities flattened in the battle against the Islamic State.”
Doucet said this need to bear witness has become even more urgent as prestigious news organizations have lost their influence in the global conversation.
“Never have we been able to know so much, but never have we struggled to find out what is really happening,” she said. “There is so much information, misinformation, misunderstanding, and manipulation.”
Yet, Doucet said, war correspondents continue to persevere, despite facing death threats, kidnappings, violence and visa restrictions. They are driven by the need to bear witness.