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Jane Phillipa Corbin (born 16 July 1954) is a British journalist and film-maker who has made over a hundred documentaries mainly for the BBC and its current affairs programme Panorama. She specialises in covering Central Asia, the Middle East and terrorism and has investigated many of the major human rights issues and global political and military events over the past three decades.
Early life and career
Jane Corbin was educated at King's College London, graduating with a degree in English in 1975. She was part of the first intake of new journalists to be employed by Channel 4 News before its launch in November 1982. While with ITN Corbin covered major news events such as the siege of the Holy Sikh Temple at Amritsar in June 1984 and reported on the miners' strike in the same year. She accompanied Benazir Bhutto back to Pakistan in 1982.
Since joining the BBC's flagship current affairs programme Panorama in 1988, Corbin has made over a hundred documentaries working as a reporter in war zones and as an investigative journalist. She has specialised in making films about al Qaeda since 1998, when she was one of the first reporters to identify the threat from Osama bin Laden in Death to America.
Corbin has reported extensively from the Middle East covering the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, including her inside account of the negotiations that led to the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993. She has recently made the film Price Tag Wars on the activities of right-wing teenagers in Israel whom their own government calls 'terrorists'. Corbin reported from Iraq during the first Gulf War in 1991/2 when she revealed the existence of Saddam Hussein's secret nuclear weapons programme and his Supergun.
During the second Iraq war of 2003, Corbin gained exclusive access to the United Nations weapons inspectors as they searched for the alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, which have never been found. After filming the British forces' invasion and taking of Basra she was again given access to the coalition Iraq Survey Group as they searched fruitlessly for the WMDs that had been used to justify the war.
Jane Corbin has reported extensively from Afghanistan and from Pakistan making programmes about the Taliban, women's rights and the war against militants on both sides of the border. She covered the hunt for Bin Laden in Afghanistan and Pakistan and made a one-hour documentary for BBC1, Hostage, on al Qaeda's tactic of hostage-taking in Iraq. She investigated the network of the 'father of the Islamic bomb', Dr A.Q. Khan, in The Nuclear Super Market (2004) and later reported from the tribal area of Waziristan on the impact of America's secret drone war in Pakistan. In The Death of Bin Laden (2011) she revealed how the CIA finally tracked down and killed the fugitive leader of the terror group.
In 2011 and 2012 Corbin covered the uprisings in the Middle East known as the Arab Spring, reporting from Tahrir Square in Cairo as Hosni Mubarak was toppled as Egypt's president. Her report from Syria of human rights abuses against children and women in the town of Dera'a resulted in cases being brought before the International Court of Justice against members of President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
On 1 October 2014 BBC Two broadcast Rwanda: The Untold Story, a documentary presented by Corbin, which contained a much-criticised account of the Rwandan Genocide, including claims made previously which have already been found not to be true. In particular it accused President Paul Kagame of being involved in shooting down the plane of Juvénal Habyarimana, his predecessor, an event which is partly blamed for causing the 1994 genocide. According to the programme this involved the killing of millions of ethnic Hutus, not mainly Tutsis as research has shown. On 24 October 2014 the Rwandan government suppressed the BBC's broadcasts in Kinyarwanda, one of the country's main languages, in Rwanda.
In October 2016 Jane Corbin presented Israel's Arab Warriors for the BBC (cowritten with Oren Rosenfeld). In the film Jane Corbin followed the first unit of Israeli Arab soldiers to serve in the Israeli occupied West Bank.
Corbin is a three-time winner of the Royal Television Society Award and is an Emmy Award nominee. She has given expert testimony before various Committees of the House of Commons on Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq and also on al Qaeda. She has written two books, Gaza First and Al Qaeda: the terror network that threatens the world.
- Andrew Wallis "Rwanda: The Untold Story: questions for the BBC", Open Democracy, 6 October 2014
- Ian Burrell "BBC accused of promoting genocide denial in Rwanda documentary", The Independent, 13 October 2014
- Dugald Baird "Rwanda bans BBC broadcasts over genocide documentary", 24 October 2014
- "Rwanda suspends BBC broadcasts over genocide film", BBC News, 24 October 2014
- "BBC Biography". BBC News. 2003-09-17. Retrieved 2010-08-31.