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Newsnight: End of an Era…

Take some time for yourself with soothing classical music from the mindful mix the science of happiness podcast to exploring the science of a happy with more meaningful life door to that, please within on BBC sounds music Radio podcasts, this is the media show from BBC Radio 4 hello and welcome at the end of this week Newsnight as we know it comes to an end from Tuesday it's format will change and it'll be sure to discuss the end of an era.

We have an all-star Newsnight lineup will be joined by Kirsty Wark Peter snow and Michael crick the program.

Will talk to a journalist to us at the world.

Boxing bout in Saudi Arabia the weekend and will discuss with him the editorial dilemmas faced and we're looking at why Scarlett Johansson is considering suing open AI before all of that as I'm sure you're aware.

There is an awful lot of speculation at the moment about whether the prime minister is about to announce an election.

Yes, there's a cabinet meeting this afternoon which we think is actually happening around now.

Can we now with cats ordered and will attend is attending that cabinet meeting as I said we've got these amazing use night night and he's not get here to walk long-standing and still presenter of Newsnight Kirsty Twitter I know it's been a light all day the media completely balls about a vacuum maybe you've been checking your phone and lots of tea, but my phone is red hot but you know I don't care if it's a vacuum as long as we get an election.

I think it's just it for us.

It's meat and drink.

And it can energise is everybody so I am hoping that upon.

Hope that our speculation is correct and your sense you think it will be yes.

I do I absolutely do and I think it'll be no idea of course is complete speculated.

I think the early July election long-standing political journalist year with this year in the in the studio one of the things that's been in the speculation today and there's been highlighted by many of our journalistic.

Colleagues is the lack of a denial coming from Downing Street Michael absolutely right and if they come out at 5 and it's not an election.

It's getting a look very hard.

It's going to make them look incompetent frankly they should have stopped this earlier in the day if there's not going to be an election day frequently done so in the past.

I mean I put 4 months I've been saying.

Oh, no, they won't be an early election you know soon.

I want to be Prime Minister for as long as he can be an even I think that there's probably going to be 1 but just explain how this.

Sometimes number 10 won't want to come out to make a public statement on speculation, but they will if they want to dampen it down make a couple of phone calls to relevant this phone cost no phone calls that happening no phone call Dead Silence by the ocean for 1 and under from what I get the reason been getting that calls that's very significant and I'd love to hear from you.

You were so iconic so famous for your swingometer you in bodied excitement about elections back in the day is your body tingling now.

Are you doing nothing for exciting understanding? We will say we will see all that and no doubt.

We will hear much more about that through the program, but I wanted to let the reason why you're all here is because of Newsnight after the announcement last year about that.

Format you gone will be the dedicated reporting and investigative reporters and Producers at the producer the showers double focus on holding to account interviews and Debate and Kirsty your Newsnight longest serving presenter your beating Peter snow by a long way on that you join me join the program in 1993.

I was there last year when you got a cake for those 30 years.

I mean are you now? That's why you had the cake that you'll be leaving after the election.

So this is actually personal for you.

We may or may not find out by the end of this program.

Whether you when you when you will be able to leave these night.

It is the end of an era know you'll be presenting other BBC programme The Reunion and all sorts.

I wonder how you feel about that departure.

I feel that it's the right time.

I think you were present in any program is enough enjoyment for it is under that have to say and I've watched young people coming to the program developing change.

Going on to be production stars reporting stars and it's fantastic, but I need to be a pipeline and there needs to be the next generation of presenter.

So I'm very very happy to have the back no, but I can't get a time to hand the back Nova then after an election.

It is the most energising event for any program particular program like NewsNow and lots of new things that you can happen.

We can arrange activating a YouTube channel election and wrap camping with it off the leash because you are we know you're not leaving until after the election.

So you would keep that presenting line up as the show get shoulder from next week won't have its bespoke investigating and reporting Teva how are you approaching the new format? I'm deeply sad.

We are losing all these incredible people that have worked in the program, but they are going forth and multiplying elsewhere they still going to be in the BBC and we can call that's the theory that we can call on there.

Services if and when we need them of course we have met and who better to take us to the election, but actually I think now I mean nothing is set in Aspic you know broadcasting has to avoid has to change that the cuts made in the program are only a tiny proportion of the cuts are going to have to made in news and there's a lot of pain to come and what we're doing is what kind of adjusting to a pain and obviously we rather have you a lot of guys you Mark Evans just leaving as well, obviously, but it's going to be in a way.

We've been at half hour to play with and particularly the time the election you know we can l do anything we want we know we've got the freedom to go in the road.

We want with the freedom to ask for more time if you want so in a way, what will happen at an election? Is you come to the end of the day, what just happened and I knew that you will have the real let you know the real people lots of really good political commentators wheel and big interviews you can get your half-hour fixed either of your coffee or whiskey in your

Amazon your evening dress we are going to be the people that keep you up for an extra half hour at night and if it is true.

We getting election announced Malaysia is perfect launch for the new news next week, but we are we going to talk about the evolution and he's not later, but I think right now.

It is worth spending time I bit of time looking back to the very beginning and you can help us with that person is going to help us with that as well you presenting Newsnight from its launch in 1980 all the way through to 1997 but you have to join designers in 1979 to help to set the show up.

What are your memories of beginning that process BBC join the two together but organising then bringing them into interaction was a huge industrial and also crazy.

Finally got going after huge number of pilots interview fake people about the whole thing will be here in January as lady very very exciting time of 10:30, but you never came on stuff with a few days with a floating around on the until 9 and you're still at 10:30 now before we took any further Let's Hear Peter and colleagues launching the show and welcome to use night.

It's been a confusing day.

Hope they're on the Spielberg lines up and down the country some private steelworkers back at work and interesting you use the words at last there I noticed.

Where do the fact that they had been the smoothies two processes to talk to you about that, but I'm not sure what were you trying to create because television news already existed in the 1970s and when you were sitting there.

What what was making you different very exciting and a half from 15 minutes and 5-minutes and 10:30 on in January 1980.

We finally took off 45 minutes of news and it needed to be said then and he said no I didn't have 45 minutes of news in depth of the days news in-depth analysis interviews.

An explanation what was going on his Rider was that Peter had to the sandpit when he arrived I watch the show late night lineup.

You know and it had to be cold in culture it had some political interviews at dinner stew and anyway.

I can't believe I actually came to be on this show and start where I was really pregnant couldn't come.

I then came is 14 months later at garden second time asking and it has been the most extraordinary because I think the latitude that news nights had you know we know it's great.

You know you we decide on the material and the day we all working and Peter Schmeichel

Collegiate way to get the show on here sometimes by the skin of her teeth and that hasn't changed and we throw the program up in the air with 10 minutes to go we have to that's the great freedom that we have I was going to go.

Did you think that one of the many things that you have in common is enthusiasm and unbelievable energy.

I mean I didn't have never worked with you people that I've worked a lot with your cousin.

I've worked with courtesy lottery and she comes in as I said of fireball of energy does ideas fizzing and that always felt to me like part of the USP of Newsnight I I think that you know that we're a transcript.

Not every has the the opportunity to do that we can put a slight angle a bit of wit hopefully they dig in a script that unchanged now and I think the thing is that we didn't necessarily and we don't necessarily follow exactly the news agenda.

You and particularly when we want to dig into something deeply which we will still do you know we don't know.

Play the music that is not what we're about we are about finding out and give me analysis and interests and indeed entertainment about something that is really the public's imagination use the word sorry Peter to use the word entertainment and of course you are famous for as Katie's already said the swing on the sand pit and various other things was it hard to persuade BBC bosses to let go for the theatrical treatments of telling the news.

We love you always wonderful gadgets.

You have not very well.

We need a break if it's possible is done.

I like the good old days at the moment.

I'll have to give us maybe later on some advice on I'm gonna go station from back to the BBC message.

One of the great secrets of Newsnight was to send people to bed with a smile on that and the quirkiness mean and I'm in one election.

I was allowed to travel around in a Newsnight helicopter another election Jeremy Vine he's nice helicopter in my back garden.

Jeremy Vine went around the country and when election in a purple Volkswagen van and on the last night.

He pretended to push it off a cliff and the and the coverage of the Arts and there was always a bit later.

You know you don't want to send people to bed feeling blue me in that the wheels about the end it was you we should take what we do very very seriously, but we shouldn't take too seriously and I think that is you know I'll try and ambulance crips still and also that you things go wrong and actually when things go wrong the audience actually I've said you know.

Definitely do go wrong sometimes with they come on there and people at home realise another time.

They don't realise that even funnier Peter hobday a game of legendary the original presenters of music in Germany talking about Germany and he had a Newsnight set but I've Newsnight set find him and he was talking with set completely collapsed conference once and Jeremy Paxman was perched on a stool along with all his guests and the whole thing was basically they are interviewing the guests and he he has lost you forgot the name suddenly is mine went blank and he couldn't remember the name of Bill Morris the leader of the T&G so for 20-minutes and nobody knew that he forgot the name.

And he couldn't remember that we couldn't bring him into the discussion and remember that Tony Blair in front of you write the name down you never know when I'm back at the beginning of conflict.

We went round test in the mood in Europe and I went to Washington and we were doing a live broadcast with with the White House behind us and an incredibly small crew that cruel with the camera man who also had the sound recorder who had to pin the Mics on anyway, what happened was that we were coming to one of her last guess who is sitting up as to purchase beside me the camera man came round pin the microphone and her then.

I was told him.

I you got five seconds he hit the deck under my feet on said and never went back to his camera.

I know I do if I was I was I was.

How is literally was called up at my feet on the floor beside me for 10-minutes of the progress loyalty here though because one of the things about Newsnight that made it central the British politics was the British politicians more often than not said yes to coming on and being grilled by some of the most formidable presenter Kirsty and Victoria Derbyshire now of David said Emily maitlis.

Jerry back from the list goes on but it has been noticeable that recently politicians and not feeling that's a morbid and always to say yes, is it better to say that change definitely and I think the heyday of that was really the 80s and the 90s when senior Cabinet ministers and their Shadows people like Douglas Hurd and Ken Clarke the Foreign Secretary in the transfer the time would be regularly in the Newsnight studio and they come down and have a drink with us afterwards and give us all the sorry.

Yes, I come afterwards.

And after a while politicians suddenly and the other problems at all sorts of new outlet came on the same like News24 and so on and Radio 5 Live and gradually they thought well actually it's a bit easier talking to Radio 5 live on News24 then it is being grilled by Kirsty Wark orthopaedics know what are Jeremy Paxman late at night and said they stop coming and also the parliamentary hours that made a difference on most nights MPs went home at 7 and sort of in Their Eyes they were knocked off for the day.

Where is in the days when most nights it wasn't the time is 10.

It was easier than to get into our studio get them down the line from Westminster and the Holy face.

I think changed after that and we did still cover loads of politics and all sorts of different ways, but we weren't kind the sort of for interrogating senior politicians in the noughties in the teams that we had been earlier in my view.

People wanted to appear on used by the public Duty I can you tell us all about presents.

I bring up the house and she said that she said that there's no news like trying to get your husband.

Come on there, so she turned around and said darling in the air tonight and the Duke's Head my time has gotten.

I think it has but actually when they think they get something to see and this is why I think it's quite interesting for the election because I understand this thing about you wanting an easy ride, but actually.

If you can deal with a tougher interview a forensic interview, I think that is a good thing for a politician and we can be quite fleet of foot now.

You know because things are lighter we can go out and with cameras much more easily for example in this election whenever it comes we are going to be able to wear able to Newsnight will travel and the ID on a morning we can see what does a massive massive you ensure that health and it's really hitting in Birmingham we apparently can go but well.

That's great and you will then the candidates either locally or indeed the minutes of the shadow ministers as was so I'm hoping actually that we will actually at the end of the day be able to give them a run for the money for half the new format the planet and evolution fresh takes on key stories your news making into the heart of the programme.

And it was not hard drives to project the decision would be heavily scrutinised know the BBC came out BBC News leadership came out with us announcement.

They said that the current 57 strong team of Newsnight would be cut by more than half re-add BBC said it wants to save 7 1/2 million and we know that in 2020 Newsnight audience has around 565000 by last year at 365000 in a statement explaining the changes to Newsnight said it's no secret that the BBC is in a tough financial situation audiences are rapidly moving from TV and radio to digital platform and they told us they want more of our best journalism.

These are more investigations more depth analysis more than BBC verified Deborah Turness goes on these are the key.

Is driving the announcement with made changes that continue I shapeshift from broadcast the digital but they have involved some difficult choices.

Am I going to bring it all through back in a minute on that but first of all I wanted to bring Suzanne Franks who is professor of journalism at City University and also season have worked out that you worked on Newsnight at the very beginning.

Hi dude indeed.

I was there when piece of pizza made his first broadcast you must have been very well with the youngest with the only trainee the youngest person on the will just give us a job now.

Give you a low down on the issues.

That is facing when it comes to ratings the trouble is that watching linear news on Broadcast television is really an old people's game.

It's a diminishing audience because young young people just aren't consuming you.

I'm in the Steven's that we have a city university for example.

They don't watch Newsnight they don't watch News at Ten they're taking you through tiktok particularly at the moment.

Is what you're saying you measure News at Ten Newsnight problems and problems facing TV news more generally people are watching an hour watching late at night.

Yes, they're not watching when they're told to watch that watching kind of scheduled linear tv.

Watching when they are consuming news as and when they want it and where they want it from and what's behind.

This is it the plethora of what's else is out there? What what's the what's been happening first Choice there's all sorts of there's all sorts of other ways of consuming news, but also people don't want them particularly younger audiences.

Don't want to be told that they have to go and sit in the chair at 10 and watch half an hour News Bulletin that's just not the way that use gym now.

It's where you know what you what your friends are saying what you're sharing a little snippets here and there and that's really love the way in which news is developing for younger audiences.

I am seeing on board of course when there's a massive story figures do shoot up because people think that the news now.

It's a PlayStation come for the analysis of the day whether it's watching and linear terms, which I agree is not a huge audience but the point is it's a reach that phenomenal and things get repeated so I think there's all manner of ways to consume Newsnight yes any apart, but if you take some of our biggest report Devonshire millions upon millions of times a day that makes us an engine of creativity the BBC why couldn't you create and the doesn't justify the Newsnight does a broader question? Why did you not create those reports those clips those interviews those investigations just without all the infrastructure and cost that comes with a nightly TV show but actually what you do want to have is if you've got a breaking story as we often.

Have you want to be able to do that rather than a cupboard somewhere you know to me that I have to be some kind of straw.

Sandwich, you build a show it doesn't have to be a studio like carrots, but I think there will always be you know if something happens at 10:20 if there is an attack in Paris which there was there was on tonight at the bataclan people know where to get that stuff and you are audience with massive on that night for very poor reasons of this because it was a terrible terrible thing that happened but the BBC's got to make sure you can give that give that depth of analysis very quickly on whatever platform you are on in 1992 the general political editor there from 2007 to 2011 is there a long time you listen to what he's answered you listen to what curses what's your reaction? Well? I think it's very sad and I am in the BBC asain.


They will be investigated work Newsnight done some really brilliant the best going to work in the last few years, but the trouble is it's going to be a centralised investigative unit and the great value of Newsnight CD outlets in the

Is pluralism so ignore a Whistleblower and you want to tell us about some scandal in the mod or whenever you go along to the Today programme they say no not as you go along to you know you and yours.

No, not you.

It's somebody in the BBC might pick you up if it's all done within a centralised unit the boss of that unit is a very powerful person and I don't think it's in the interest.

I think it probably the closing or the diminishing of the lights in the interest of Cookson incompetent and corrupt individuals there be sleeping more easily at night-time if there is an election to close down Newsnight just what's the current format is a good thing.

Why do you keep pluralism there are digital big digital news operations all around the world which is pluralism without having the costs and structures that come with broadcast.

Attention there but if you've got I mean it was always a certain rivalry in that too much library say between Newsnight and the Today programme at one point today refuse to have anybody from Newsnight on his program or even mention them kind of that kind of tension and driver in competition.

I think is helpful and it will mean that if the BBC is a hole or is it decides that something is in the story? There's someone still go to in the BBC but on the election point I mean ok? You're not closing down use night all together, but you are in its current form and it's right now.

I mean I'm with the head of returners.

You want to come right now and give news now.

Just a or in its current form a stay of Execution all the reports.

I absolutely get the point of the centralised system and all that and you need strong editors to champion stories.

There will be investigations unit of weight there are some fantastic producers.

Reporters there and there will be ways in which people can feed in ideas stories whistleblowing and of course reporters get their tentacles out and I'll be around the trying to find these stories but I do think that what the difference is now is it for Newsnight as a stand-alone we have such great relationships now with world at one.

You know we're together.

We can do these things and I think to do that to Michael's point my god when I was in the world at One the Today programme used to lock their office and are broke as the time find a way into get rolodex is out to get contacts.

No understand competition, but that was utterly ridiculous every single programme every single area needs a strong editor and these strong as I've got to fight their way to make sure that these stories get told or the BBC is not doing it stupid.

More investigations not fewer 45-minute programme when when I had a half an hour when the world is now full of the ever was before with information with with with tick tock tick tock you need the news in-depth everyday lives that you also need the reported in Hartlepool and they said they will be doing the disagreement that there are some fundamental challenges facing broadcast journalism journalism, whether it's News avoidance or Mis and disinformation and so on but it's not automatically broadcast like Newsnight is the solution to take it on those challenges not entirely but I think I think the the point that Michael is making is that having sort of?

Very strong editors and you know the kind of people that do investigations and having some brilliant ones on you tonight if you think about it the Tavistock gender clinic in the NHS and the John Bercow scandal and so on but you need you know difficult quirky reporters who are kind of willing to push and push and to be backed by strong editors and this kind of you know big blender conglomeration of of Investigation I think will not necessary that we should reiterate once more that I don't think the bosses at BBC News with describe their plans involving being brand one little bit.

Thank you very much indeed Kirsty Peter Schmeichel to I also don't want to talk about GB news because this is a story come back to the number of times the media show and we've seen the Ofcom is intervened this week.

It is the media regulator and it's announced.

It's considering sanctioning the channel 4AQ

They did with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of Commons decided that the programme involve the prime minister taking questions from the public when we know that babe, but it broke it's broadcasting rules says I've gone because it didn't offer enough Lynch to his statements Michael we talk to you about GB news who talked to you about Ofcom before you go onto GB news as I guess sometime.

What do you make about ofcom's ruling in this case I getting out but actually I think there.

It's a bit like Al Capone in the end.

You got done for not paying taxes rather than 4 far more serious offences and I think it's pretty soft terms of the offence at the GB news committed here in a program and that true that the audience should have been allowed to ask follow-up questions and the presenter should put in follow-up questions as well.

Like Jacob rees-mogg, Nigel Farage at leandersson, interviewing other Politician's of the same as we know because we had a guest from Ofcom a few weeks back so the politician standing in an election will not be allowed to present they have to find some new presenters pretty quickly a in that case off done this and even now the same will think about a sanction they told them time and time again without essential.

It's a right wing propaganda channel Amazon and it could well be that we need to relax the rules in this country, but they should be proper public debate on that and hasn't been and as you will know GB news.

Would you disagree with that description of it that you just given in a statement on this Ofcom ruling GB news says ofcom's finding against GB news today is an alarming development in its attempt to silence us, but standing in.

The forum that allows the public to question politicians directly the regulators threat to punish a news organisation with sanctions for enabling people to challenge their own Prime Minister strikes at the heart of democracy at a time when it could not be more vital you're still here from City University GB news as seen itself as a disruptor to the TV landscape since it arrived in 2020 female Newsnight the landscape of TV news much more widely than that where does GB news fit into this? It is very much as you say disruptor and outside the kind of you know public service ecology that were used to the regulated broadcasting the framework that we used in this country and while we have those regulations.

Are we should be doing their job and they should be stepping up to the plate and I'm a bit surprised that why they suddenly chosen.

This is one programme this week to sanction.

I mean there's lots of other things they should have been sanctioning.

And haven't exactly between news and current affairs in a talked about that earlier.

You know Newsnight with brought together news and current affairs they seem to invented this distinction about you know who's allowed to present.

What's a few weeks ago on this program and yes the viewing figures for GB news still low but it has beaten off

You are there signs that it is booking the downward news trend well.

It's still is as tiny figures by you know bye bye bye most standard, but he was saying earlier.

It's not all about what you broadcast and what goes out and you'll show it's here and it's the you know that the snippets and the way they can use social media use digital platforms to push push out it has it is making quite a significant more noise there then I think.

Coming up and the premier news organisation in the world the BBC is cutting back.

It's nearest garage to Ofcom and GB news and Michael crick.

There was talking about this issue about presenters being sitting MPs of Commons already made the ruling that they won't be able to be presented general election campaign and they said they will be watching off got will be watching broadcasters very closely during the campaign and they could issue rulings and sanctions in a matter of days, because they will be potentially weather is Boris Johnson at the moment presenting on on GB news, and there's some scepticism around whether that could work.

What your assessment of that is I think I've come have now been criticised so much by so many people I think they're going to have to to sort of put their money where their mouth is and actually do that in an election otherwise what's the point really? I'm in one of them services.

Is that the Melanie Dawes the chief executive officer said that they were a bit softer on GB news GB news.

Didn't have so many viewers twitch when I went into GB news after that.

I said you better be careful.

You know how to get too many beers for this show you going to be regulated so keep your fingers low pop in for the world do people just like to have an echo chamber.

I mean is extraordinary to me that people don't like to be challenged in their views or you just want the only want the warm blanket.

That's unfortunately that's that's the nature of a lot of the modern use environment and they just need to go to the US where obviously Fox News is huge compared to GBP

And you see the whole framework of news which is you know it's quite quite frightening that you don't have a public service Ethos of a sort of shared values and regulation you just have never shouting from their soap boxes in the audience.

Where does it leave everybody else? I mean 4 years as journalists in in this in the BBC and ITV we lived in Tara of Ofcom and an Ofcom enquiry and breaking the rules and so on and now what their failure to regulate GB news basically seems to give a licence to everybody else to go by so whatever is worth reiterating that when old one came onto this program.

They said they were monitoring what GB news doing very closely and they will act accordingly.

It's also were saying that we had GB news comedian show several times since it's launch in it always restates.

Its commitment to speaking to people across the political spectrum on that thank you very much indeed to all of you for joining is next to Kirsty Wark

Peter snow thanks the Michael Craig and I think about something Suzanne you might be staying with us for a couple more minutes, but we're going to talk about boxing now bit of a change of tack but lots of you listening will be well aware on Saturday night Alexander usyk beat Tyson Fury to become boxing undisputed heavyweight champion one on point this but if you follow that you'll be well aware Riyadh in Saudi Arabia and it was part of what critics saying is Saudi Arabia's pursuit of sportswashing a sports wash in strategy in other words investing in Sport high-profile Sport through their international reputation and deflect from a poor human rights record correspondent the Independent you he was there on Saturday night and Simon break is a professor of sport and geopolitical economy at schema business school Simon just remind us what the Saudi sport strategy years and how.

Lamentis historic boxing match and it actually ended up there so sorry rivian investment in sport has essentially come from Nowhere over last 10 years.

It is part of a strategy intended to deliver up on a national Vision and at national vision.

Is is multidimensional it's economic.

It's an attempt to transform the Soviet economy is also transform Saudi Society it's also way too.

I think all pacifying me either native population.

I think because the Saudi rulers there acutely aware of the threats in the region with the back to the Arab Spring for instance.

We think also about the instability of the region and some of the threats and locally as it is so where we got to have you got to Saturday night is is essentially a lot of money being spent on lots of different sports particularly around event hosting with a view.

Not just changing perceptions of the country, but I think also drawing people into the country to sort this spend money.

This is vision 2030 is it called just yet because you look any of the GCC countries The Corporation counsel countries that are 6 of them and they they all have 2013 and these are a vision of what they want a countries to become a wish you a hugely dependence on oil and gas revenues in the case of Saudi Arabia something like 40% of the economy is accounted for by revenues and sorted to transform your company to diversify to create a great sense of resilience economically is very important particularly in the world.

Is it this to do when when they kicking back against fossil fuel consumption, so this is why I find the discussions around sport washing interesting because I do think to to a certain extent.

It's an oversimplification of the

Challenges that Saudi Arabia Anderson your neighbours first right now because you've got one of the best titles in media combat sports correspondent the Independent but also because you just been on boxing fans.

Just explain how significant this match was because you know Clea was a big deal a big deal for Saudi Arabia certainly been up to now the sporting events have hosted.

I've been looked on his buy something with a novelty I think it's too sure if you look at recent boxing events out there.

We've had Anthony Joshua vs.

Francis ngannou.

Tyson Fury vs.

Francis ngannou, UFC champions a mixed martial artist so they were novel about this some people described the weekend as the fight of the century.

We've had big fights in the last 1000 years ago smelly packy.

Oh that was such a high-profile about that people are in the same for years, but they were both past their prime and that was also almost a little bit novel but this you know the first.

Heavyweight title fight in 25 years it's about the people of long for that a period of time and it just looks like we might not get one for another 25 years, but it obviously head in large part because of the finances that the Saudis have injected into boxing and walk that enables them to do and how to enable them to pay Fighters obviously and what was the experience like for you? What was being there reporting on it? It was surreal it in a way Riyadh itself has not remember going on and most locals I spoke to the most local to other Janice I met spoke to have no idea that the event was going on some had a vague idea that there was a fight there.

They didn't understand the significance they didn't know the participants in most cases the pre-fight events that the way in the press conference to open workouts.

It was stage to sort of outdoor mall area near the arena on the Edge of Town

You know they were locals milling about again some of them employees in the area included asked me you know what's going on what we looking at so we didn't really have much of a bus till later on when you had about 2500 Brits travelling out some ukrainians as well, but even find out itself over 20000 people in the arena.

It wasn't quite again.

You are largely locals strange at all.

You're able to report as you wanted to report you're able to travel as he wanted to travel yes, I I felt so busy.

I think they've got to be conscious of the fact that there are conceptions about what media coverage is like and and you have been treated in the past so I didn't I didn't feel that I was necessarily restrict and there are allegations as we're talking earlier sportswashing.

How did you approach that and your reporting? Will it if I'm completely honest?

I would like to it's a topic of written about and written about critically in the past but I do think with situations like this and I can only speak to myself but as the fighting did I sort of feeling like you have to pick your battles.

I've not been to Saudi Arabia before I didn't know what to expect now that I'm back as I feel a bit of a weight has been lifted and I feel like a bit more open about it, but the Independent investment that sells a self censoring and how do you feel about that supposed? Yeah definitely nothing from higher.

I'd like to make that clear but yeah, it's a quandary.

I think as I said I've written about it in the past but somewhere along with my own and it's not somewhere.

I would have gone and someone turned down going to in the past until I felt like there was something in my room at that.

I absolutely had to go to.

Incense for the significance of the fight and Simon if I could bring you in now looking across the coverage of this sporting event on Saturday it seemed to me that the number of references to human rights issues with lower than perhaps some other sports stories involving Saudi Arabia in recent years.

Do you think that's a fair observation? Yeah? I do I've got a PhD student at the moment looking at news coverage and reactions to events being staged in in difficult territory, but also the responses at home 22 Investments by the likes of Saudi Arabia into club football clubs, Newcastle United and I guess there are two elements to this the I've observed this since October 7th and there is far less news coverage in general of the geopolitical economy, Sport

Reason for that is in my understanding of My Interpretation is it is actually very difficult very complex.

It doesn't matter what you write.

You're going to get kick back from somebody and because it's only sports.

Let's stop another issue.

So yes absolutely but I think the other the other part of this if we are talking about managing image and reputation that process involves legitimization and and an essentially people in the just stop talking about it either they quick concerning themselves with the wider issues and they focus on the boxing the folks on the football and I guess that's that's the points and not just a Saudi Arabia any country in sport.

It's Simon thank you very much indeed for joining us thanks to.

Cattle to some AI news because Scarlett Johansson has accused the Artificial Intelligence research company open AI of deliberately copying her voice for its latest Sky the actress is now considering legal action have a listen to have the chatbot sounds.

I'm doing great.

Thanks for that was the open AI chatbot this next clip coming up is Scarlett Johansson in her role in the film her as an AI chatbot.

How you doing? I'm well.

How's everything with you actually Scarlett Johansson and Joaquin Phoenix release a statement saying she was shocked and good and disbelief the open AI do you say maltman would up for a voice that sounds as she put it so eerily similar to mine that further in the same and she said when I heard the release them.

Oh, I was shocked and angered.

I've mentioned she goes on to say this evening simulated that the similarity was intentional tweeting a single word her a reference to the film in which I voiced a chat system season acting is a long-term partner at ack Media law hello Susan and takara.

Small is a tech journalist.

Thank you so much to you for coming on the programme.

Just give some context to your first.

Why was this voice to it's one of a range of the latest versions of chat GPT

Is probably one and the Sky voice would you just heard which was unveiled as part of it? It's big.

It's really it's really generated controversy.

I think it's a wake-up call to many people you know individuals are seen that if someone as famous as well be as Scarlet can have her boys taken used in modified.

What hope is there for the average person and then a statement shed with the BBC by open a I missed open denied that the company had to imitate johansens voice he wrote this voice of Sky is not Scarlett Johansson it was never intended to resemble hers we cast the voice actor behind Skies voice before before any outreach to Mr Hanson out of respect miss your handsome.

We have paused using Skies voice and I'll product with storage miss you handsome that we didn't communicate better and is that you were talking about the reaction in the media and entertainment circles ciliau is a

It is you know there has just recently a Hollywood strike that came to an end about this very thing but I think it really shows that AI is moving so fast and warmaker's the private sector and we have encountered some type of agreement by you just in a landmark and AI rule that hopefully will act as you know some type of other countries, but everything is moving so fast so fast and urine by private institutions were the economic incentive is to commercialise and make profit.

So obviously there are concerns about me know whether individuals right to privacy their consent their ability to opt-out will that be realised that be respected to thank you Susan let's bring you in here Scarlett Johansson and said she has been forced to hire lawyers that she said legal letter to open a I do you think she might have one case for another to make you.

Just now it's quite right.

I think the law is scurrying to catch up with this new these new developments which are ahead of the curve the whole time, so what you find is there's a patchwork of legal for works that are kind of overlapping trying to stretch to accommodate.

What's happening in this country.

There is no specific AI directed law but passing off is probably the most capacious if you like if you have Goodwill in your name or your reputation and someone is holding you out as having spot or promoting their products then you can say one though, there's this is a misrepresentation.

It's causing me damage and I think that's quite analogous to what's happening here, but there's also data protection if in fact they were processing her voice before putting it into artificial intelligence then.

They're processing her data her voice.

There are some laws that exist yeah could be relevant, but is it inevitable given the pace at which AI is developing at the moment that it gets us into territory which current laws can't handle cover the cost of flexible.

I mean you you saw that with the law of privacy they say it's the the court started extending the law of confidence to come fill the gaps, but yes eventually you end up with privacy laws to plug the gap and I suspect this is going to be the same you'll end up with a specific statues that will cover what's happening give us an idea.

How long a statute of that might take to pull together because of course if we talk about AI and six months here on the media show we're probably going to be talking about technology.

We can't even probably imagine and detail so if there is a risk.

It's the Laura struggling to catch up.

I think it's very true that is struggling to catch up and Anna statue.

Will take years.

It's got to be promulgated.

You know it's got to go through.

Committee stages and also you don't go too soon because you don't know what you're dealing with you know you've got to see how the courts deal with these issues and where the gaps are before before you start leaping interaction with the statute that might not actually do the business to Cardiff we could bring you back in here.

Are there other examples of people either in the public public public figures or Livermore Private Lives the they have been in some way copy by AI and Away that they don't want to be in there is really difficult to determine what day I invite someone is created on the roles of human interactions, but you know what time you'll be customised is a comedian George Carlin so he is and there was a company that decided to Showcase his comedic Talent by utilising some of his past work and I think something like that is going to become quite common.

You know I know.

Great quotes about whether or not Scarlet voice was used to train this way, I would if that's ok to car thanks.

That's been trained on a a is a black box if you can even say at the end of the day that is so kind of you.

Thank you so much for coming on the program to car a small Simon thank you to Susan Aslan and Alex battle to thanks as well to use my colleagues or former Newsnight colleagues and some cases Kirsty Wark Peter snow Michael Craig and we heard from Suzanne Franks that's it.

Thank you so much for listening you can catch all editions of the media show on BBC sounds but for me and from Rose Goodbye by it was underneath and that's when you came around my last win a collision between a Chinese jet and an American spy plane.

Can you put in the morning with no nose explosive decompression severe problems with relations between the West and china increasingly strained? What are the chances of things spinning Out of Control the Western world was asleep and it's had a rude Awakening I'm Gordon Carrera in shadow war China and the west from BBC I'll be exploring the friction in this most important relationships and asking taking it off the Ball cabinet table.

I'll be speaking to politicians spies dissidence and those caught up in the growing tension.

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