15 May 1966 |
|Notable credit(s)||BBC News, RTÉ News|
Orla Guerin MBE (born 15 May 1966) is an Irish correspondent currently working for BBC News based in Cairo. She was previously a Pakistan correspondent, an Africa correspondent and has also been a Middle East correspondent. She has also reported from areas including the West Coast of the USA, Kosovo, the Republic of Macedonia, the Basque Country in northern Spain, and Moscow, where she covered the Kursk submarine disaster in 2000.
Guerin was born in Dublin. A journalism graduate from Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), she qualified as a journalist in 1985 with a Certificate in Journalism from the College of Commerce in Dublin. She also holds a Master's degree in Film Studies from University College Dublin (UCD).
Guerin first came to attention as a journalist and foreign correspondent with RTÉ News. Guerin joined Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ) in 1987 and was their correspondent in Eastern Europe from 1990–1994, travelling widely and reporting from Eastern and Central Europe, the former Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Sarajevo. Guerin's reports from Eastern Europe for RTÉ Radio won her a Jacob's Award in 1992.
She left RTÉ to run as a Labour Party candidate in the 1994 elections to the European Parliament. A political novice, Guerin had been hand-picked by then Labour Party leader Dick Spring. Even though she was not selected at the party convention, Spring insisted that she be added to the ballot. Vilified as a "parachute" candidate, she did not win a seat (although she did poll relatively well). She joined the BBC in 1995.
She was removed by BBC director general Mark Thompson as the BBC's Middle East correspondent after a 2005 trip to Israel, and became the corporation's Africa correspondent, based in Johannesburg in 2006.
In 2003, Guerin married Reuters correspondent Michael Georgy. That same year she was awarded the News and Factual Award by Women in Film and Television UK.
Accusation of bias
In 2004, the Israeli government wrote to the BBC accusing Guerin of a "deep-seated bias against Israel" in a report on a teenage would-be suicide bomber. A year later the Muslim Council of Britain accused the BBC as a whole of pro-Israeli bias. Guerin remained as the BBC's Middle East correspondent until January 2006, when she became the Africa correspondent. She was replaced in the Middle East by BBC veteran Jeremy Bowen who announced that he would only refer to Israel and the Palestinians rather than Israel and Palestine. Former Director General of the BBC Greg Dyke wrote: "I have no doubt that the decision by the BBC to pull their Middle East correspondent Orla Guerin out of the region and send her to South Africa was part of the normal rotation of BBC news correspondents around the world. However it was pretty bad timing to announce it within days of Director General Mark Thompson's visit to Israel where he had a meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon".
In 2002, she was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Essex, England and won the Broadcaster of the Year Award from the London Press Club. She was awarded an MBE (Honorary) for services to broadcasting. In 2009, she was awarded honorary degrees from both of Northern Ireland's universities, Queen's University Belfast and the University of Ulster.
- "Newswatch - Profiles - Orla Guerin". BBC News. 23 January 2006. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
- Fitzsimmons, Caitlin (26 January 2009). "Israel and the British media: a troubled history". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 21 April 2009.
- Dyke, Greg (12 December 2005). "Greg Dyke On Broadcasting". The Independent (London). Retrieved 21 April 2009.[dead link]
- Dyke, Greg (12 December 2005). "Greg Dyke On Broadcasting: The BBC should never give in to pressure - or even be seen to". The Independent (London). Retrieved 5 February 2014.
- Cromie, Claire (6 July 2009). "Queen's University of Belfast Graduations". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 11 May 2013.