Call the law and hold the applause

The University of Kent Work Experience Bursary gave me the chance to join my colleagues and a couple of great lecturers on a tour of the UK Supreme Court in London on Wednesday, 1st March 2017. In the Media and Free Expression module, which I’ve been taking at the Centre for Journalism, we’ve gone through different aspects of the workings and mechanisms of justice system in the United Kingdom. Arguably, it’s one of the most progressive, objective and comprehensive legal systems in the world, which more often than not makes serious attempts to ensure no citizen is discriminated against on the basis of their faith, national or racial belongings, sexual orientation or political views. On higher levels, to protect the public interest, it deals with broader national and international cases with as much care and caution as possible.

I’ve tried to review different legal structures, including that of the United States, and also that of countries, which follow the Civil Law system, as opposed to Common Law. That’s what makes me enthusiastic about the legal arrangements in the UK. The Supreme Court’s staff have been exceptionally welcoming, articulate and friendly and elaborated on the different sides of the structure of legal and judicial system to us on this visit. Without this visit organised by the Centre for Journalism, which happened thanks to efforts by our media law lecturer, Mr David Acheson, it would have been almost impossible for me to acquire this close understanding of how the Supreme Court functions, and especially how it works closely with young journalists and international students.

At the same time, we had the chance to visit St Bride’s Church in London, where the memorial for a number of internationally renowned journalists killed while on reporting mission in Iraq is located. Most of these journalists were assassinated as embedded reporters, working on the ground during the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Among them is the late Kaveh Golestan, a prominent Iranian photojournalist and artist, who captured the first pictures of the early aftermath of the Halabja poison gas attack in 1988. During that massacre against the Kurdish population of Halabja by the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, between 3,200 and 5,000 civilians and non-civilians were killed and about 10,000 people were seriously injured. St Bride’s Church is popularly referred to as the ‘spiritual home of the media’ and is a worshipping place, where journalists from different publications find a chance to pay tribute to the efforts of their distinguished, deceased colleagues who lost their lives at the expense of educating the public and making sure truth is not concealed.

I’d like to express my special thanks to the Director of the Centre for Journalism, Prof Tim Luckhurst, and our Assistant Lecturer Ms Laura García Rodriguez Blancas, who also contributed to the organisation of this trip to London, enabling students of the MA International Multimedia Journalism program studying in the academic year 2016/17 to benefit from this rare opportunity. Ms Garcia also gave multimedia coverage to our visit and for me, it was one of the most unforgettable memories of my entire experience at the University of Kent’s Centre for Journalism. Eventually, I’d like to extend my thanksgivings to the Chevening Secretariat at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which made it possible for me to take up my place and get enrolled in this prestigious journalism program.

– Kourosh Ziabari
MA Student of International Multimedia Journalism 2016/17
FCO Chevening Scholar Iran 2016/17

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