COPACABANA, A MILLION PEOPLE AND A POPE

COPACABANA, A MILLION PEOPLE AND A POPE

Right now #Pope #Francis on Copacabana #Rio with an estimated 1 million people present. Here is my photo from afar

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Alternative view of Pope Francis’s first day in Brazil

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While most of the other members of the media were focused on the movements of the Pope mobile, it was my duty this evening to cover some of the not so conventional events that marked the arrival of the pontiff back to his native Latin America.

Protests broke out in the surroundings of the Presidential Palace as Pope Francis  met President Dilma Rousseff. The protests and ensuing violence got quite worrying as police reacted to demonstrators who tried to break the police cordon and immediately shot rounds of rubber bullets, which in turn a certain section of the protestors responded with molotov cocktails and the whole scene was enveloped in tear gas, fires, smoke and explosions. I have to admit I was quite shocked by the indiscriminate (it seemed to me at least) way in which the defence forces shot into the crowds

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#Rio you beauty

#Rio you beauty

Just touched down in Rio for coverage of Pope Francis’s first overseas tour. This is the view one block from my hotel.

Have to admit, despite the well honed jouralistic blasé about covering global scale news events, I am inconsolably enthused about having the chance to cover this event as part of AP’s team

INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL SUMMITS: GOVERNMENT, MEDIA WHITE ELEPHANT SHOWCASES?????

Having just finished 2 days in covering another heads of state summit in Latin America it has to be said it is depressing to see the way that governments utilize quasi media outlets to turn such events into nothing more than stage managed white elephants. Increasingly government delegations travel with their own state sponsored media, with whom they give exclusive access to, while not interacting with the other accredited media…organising sparse press “attention” and “press conferences” whereby no chance is given for spontaneous question and answer and follow up question. Everything is controlled, processed and then presented to such an extent that there is very little benefit in travelling to cover. Obviously we know spin is not the monopoly of governments in this part of the world but I truly hope that such political summits the world over are not fully in the same vein or heading in that depressing direction