Mark Anthony Paul Seddon (born 7 October 1962) is a British journalist. During his career, Seddon has worked as editor of Tribune, United Nations & Diplomatic Correspondent for Al Jazeera English and as a speechwriter and communications aide to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon. In January 2016, he became Director of Communications for the International Commission on Funding Global Education, chaired by UN Special Envoy and former UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. The Commission reported to the UN Secretary-General in September 2016. He has also been an activist and parliamentary candidate with the Labour Party, and served on its National Executive Committee.
Education and early life
The son of a British army officer, Seddon went to Dauntsey's School, an independent co-educational boarding school in the village of West Lavington in Wiltshire. He studied Development Studies at the University of East Anglia, where in 1984 he was elected president of the Union of UEA Students. Seddon's family home is in Buckinghamshire, England, and he is a keen naturalist and gardener.
Seddon has written for the New York Times and the Boston Globe. He has been a Diarist for the London Evening Standard and has been a frequent contributor to newspapers The Guardian, The Independent, The Times, the Daily Mail, The National (Abu Dhabi), and magazines including New Statesman, Private Eye, The Oldie, Country Life, and the website 'Big Think' (New York). Also a prolific writer for Tribune, he served as that magazine's editor from 1993 until 2004.
On television, Seddon has reported for the BBC from inside Iraq, North Korea and China, as well as for Sky TV from Yemen and for Al Jazeera English from North Korea, Syria, Dr Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia and Haiti. Seddon also reported regularly from the United Nations and from the White House, and has lectured widely in North America and the UK. He became the United Nations and New York City correspondent for Al Jazeera English in 2005, having helped set up and run the first ever Aljazeera English TV New York Bureau. He later returned to the UK to continue as Aljazeera English TV's Diplomatic Correspondent. He was an early guest on Have I Got News for You, and has appeared as a commentator on numerous UK and US television and radio programmes, including Newsnight, Channel 4 News, Breakfast with Frost, The Politics Show and the Today programme.
In 2003, Seddon was the first journalist to reveal that 'extraordinary rendition' had taken place in the British Indian Ocean Territory island of Diego Garcia. He repeated the claims for al Jazeera English TV, shortly before the then Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, admitted that extraordinary rendition had indeed taken place using the island of Diego Garcia. Seddon was also the first foreign reporter to broadcast live from Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, in 2006, soon after performing the first trans Atlantic 'live' from the United Nations in New York to Doha for al Jazeera English TV at the time of that Networks' launch. He is a former Vice President of the United Nations Correspondents Association.
From 2014 to 2016, Seddon worked in the Communications and Speechwriting Unit for the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon. During this time he again lived in Manhattan, New York City.
Active in the Labour Party, Seddon worked for Gordon Brown during the 1992 General Election. After Brown became Chancellor of the Exchequer, Seddon served for five years on the Chancellor's Economic Policy Commission. Seddon was elected to Labour's National Executive Committee as a Grassroots Alliance candidate in 1997, gaining the highest share of the vote. Re-elected several times, he remained an NEC member until standing down in 2005. In the 2001 General Election, Seddon ran for parliament in the safe Conservative seat of Buckingham, against future Speaker John Bercow.
In 2002, he was controversially removed from the shortlist to be Labour's candidate in the Ogmore by-election. Seddon was a vocal critic of many aspects of the last Labour government in the UK, particularly over the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. He also opposed Britain's involvement in the war in Afghanistan from the outset. He backed Mayor of London Ken Livingstone's ultimately successful attempt to be readmitted to the Labour Party. In 2011 he published an autobiography, Standing for Something – Life in the Awkward Squad about his time as a dissenter within New Labour and as a foreign TV reporter.
Seddon has campaigned for justice for the Chagossians of the British Indian Ocean Territory for over twenty years. More recently, was active in the campaign for new elections in the Maldives, following the toppling of that country's first democratic President, Mohamed Nasheed in a coup in 2012. Nasheed was an old school friend, and Seddon had backed his long campaign for democracy in the Maldives.
- Mark Seddon's blog, Comment is free, Guardian Unlimited
- As I Please – Dispatches from the corridors of British power, Mark Seddon, Big Think
- Mark Seddon interview, Logos, Spring 2004
- Mark Seddon at the Internet Movie Database
- Mark Seddon and Martin Rowson (26 September 2011). Standing for Something. Biteback Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84954-123-7.
|Editor of Tribune