David Blair (journalist)

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David Blair (born 1973 in Malawi to British parents[citation needed]) is the Chief Foreign Correspondent for the Daily Telegraph, having formerly worked for the Financial Times as Energy Correspondent, and the Daily Telegraph as a Foreign Correspondent and then Diplomatic Editor.

Early life and education[edit]

Blair graduated from Oxford University with a First Class degree in PPE. He was President of the Oxford University Conservative Association. He later attended Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University, taking a M.Phil in International Relations.

Although born in Africa, Blair is a British citizen. He is not related to the former British prime minister, Tony Blair.[1]

Career in journalism[edit]

Blair began working for the Daily Telegraph in Zimbabwe in 1999. He was forced to leave the country by President Robert Mugabe's regime in June 2001. Blair later published a book about his experiences Degrees in Violence: Robert Mugabe and the Struggle for Power in Zimbabwe. He was named Young Journalist of the Year in 2001 by the Foreign Press Association for his coverage of Zimbabwe.[2]

Thereafter, he was based in Pakistan (2002 - 2003) and the Middle East (2003 - 2004). He was among the first journalists to enter Jenin Refugee Camp in the West Bank after the controversial Israeli assault in April 2002. Blair's front page report on the Palestinian suffering caused by this attack, headlined "Blasted to Rubble by the Israelis",[3] attracted considerable attention as the Daily Telegraph had always been perceived as favourable to Israel.

Blair reported extensively from Iraq before and after the American-led 2003 invasion of Iraq. At the height of the looting in Baghdad in April 2003, Blair entered Saddam Hussein's old foreign ministry and found documents purporting to show that George Galloway, the British MP, had received money from the deposed regime.[2] Galloway vigorously denied this charge and sued the Daily Telegraph for libel on the totality of the Telegraph reports, which included those by other journalists and editorials.[4] Galloway won the case in November 2004 and the newspaper paid him damages of £150,000 plus, after a failed appeal,[5] legal costs of about £2 million.[6] The Daily Telegraph did not attempt to claim justification (where the defendant seeks to prove the truth of the defamatory reports): "It has never been the Telegraph's case to suggest that the allegations contained in these documents are true".[7] Instead, the paper sought to argue that it acted responsibly because the allegations it reported were of sufficient public interest to outweigh the damage caused to Galloway's reputation.[8] However the trial judge did not accept this defence saying the suggestion that Galloway was guilty of "treason", "in Saddam's pay", and being "Saddam's little helper" caused him to conclude "the newspaper was not neutral but both embraced the allegations with relish and fervour and went on to embellish them".[6]

Blair became the Daily Telegraph's Africa Bureau Chief in June 2004. He reported on the war in Darfur, the elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the war in northern Uganda. He left this job some time in late 2006.

In 2009 Blair left his Daily Telegraph diplomatic editor post to join the Financial Times as Middle East and Africa news editor. In 2010 he was appointed the Financial Times energy correspondent.[9]

In November 2011 Blair returned to the Daily Telegraph as chief foreign correspondent.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ David Blair (15 February 2007). "Rest assured - we're not related". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Dominic Timms (23 April 2003). "Who is David Blair?". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  3. ^ David Blair (17 April 2002). "Blasted to rubble by the Israelis". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 February 2007. 
  4. ^ Mr Justice Eady (2 December 2004), In the High Court of Justice Queen's Bench Division Between: George Galloway MP and Telegraph Group Limited, Royal Courts of Justice, Neutral Citation Number: [2004] EWHC 2786 (QB) / Case No: H003X02026, retrieved 24 April 2011 
  5. ^ Sir Anthony Clarke MR (25 January 2006), In the Supreme Court of Judicature Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Between: George Galloway MP and Telegraph Group Limited, Royal Courts of Justice, Neutral Citation Number: [2006] EWCA Civ 17 / Case No: A2/2005/0308, retrieved 24 April 2011 
  6. ^ a b Clare Dyer (26 January 2006). "Telegraph loses Galloway libel appeal". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  7. ^ "Galloway wins Saddam libel case". BBC. 2 December 2004. Retrieved 15 December 2005. 
  8. ^ Claire Cozens (25 January 2006). "Telegraph loses Galloway libel appeal". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  9. ^ Jackie Reddy (28 September 2010). "David Blair appointed Energy Correspondent for the FT". FeaturesExec Media Bulletin. Retrieved 24 April 2011. 
  10. ^ "David Blair returns to Telegraph as chief foreign corr". Press Gazette. 7 November 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 

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