Journalist Emily Maitlis is to deliver the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture at the 2022 Edinburgh TV Festival.

Maitlis’ career in news broadcasting spans NBC Asia, TVB, Channel 4 and SKY and 15 years at The BBC, latterly as lead anchor for the corporation’s flagship news programme, Newsnight. She recently left the BBC and signed with Global.

Maitis’s lecture will cover the complex world of modern journalism where the threat to reporting the news and holding power to account across the globe, comes not just with intimidation and outright censorship, but in more nuanced ways with language and normalizing the extraordinary.

Maitlis said: “The list of extraordinary people who have given this lecture before me makes this an honour beyond belief. It is a massive privilege – but also a responsibility. To get this right. The need to hold power to account without fear or favour is more urgent than ever before. We are good at documenting censorship and intimidation of journalists around the world. But we are sometimes too slow to recognise how and when it is happening in more subtle ways, closer to home. In many places the political actors, their style of communication and their relationship with the truth has changed.”

Maitlis follows in the footsteps of a previous MacTaggart’s including Michaela Coel, Dorothy Byrne, Ted Turner, Armando Iannucci, Rupert Murdoch, Dennis Potter, Jon Snow, Elisabeth Murdoch, David Olusoga and last year’s speaker, Jack Thorne.

The Festival’s Executive Chair, Fatima Salaria said: “Emily Maitlis has delivered the news into our living rooms for over 20 years but could never be described as a news reader. Sharper and edgier than was comfortable for her last employer she is happiest when cracking open a story and not just reporting it.

“Fans not just of her Prince Andrew encounter but Newsnight, Americast, and her best-selling book Airhead, will want to hear her take on truth, power and impartiality in what promises to be a challenging and insightful MacTaggart.”


Jon Creamer

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