Thursday 4th February 2021

4pm, RO time

The Role of Journalists

A Ratiu Forum webinar with Alison Mutler and Nick Thorpe

Journalists have to know what they do and why they do it. Journalism’s role in society is more important now than ever before. Ordinary people are saying more and more “you can’t quote me/photograph me”, there are laws, and regulations which must be adhered to in publications. All of this can make reporting accurate information on difficult topics harder and more complicated. This webinar seeks to uncover the role of the press, how we define ourselves and defend our profession in a democratic society when we are under attack, either from officials, social media or the general public. As journalists it is our job to be at the forefront of breaking news and uncovering the truth, and this webinar aims to provide the tools and insight into how we can keep this purpose at the heart of our work. In this 60-minute webinar, experienced international news correspondents Alison Mutler (, formerly AP) and Nick Thorpe (Central Europe Correspondent for the BBC since 1996) will discuss how best to understand and defend why journalists choose the profession they do. In conversation with participants, they will interrogate the role of the press, and what the future has in store for journalists at the front line.

journalism webinar

This event will be held on Zoom and is in English. 

Places are limited to a maximum of 20 people and are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. To register your place please email us:



Nick Thorpe

Nick Thorpe is a writer, film-maker and award-winning BBC journalist, specialising in eastern Europe and the Balkans, born in England in 1960. He studied Modern Languages at the Universities of Reading (UK), Dakar (Senegal) and Freiburg (Germany), graduating in 1982. He has lived in Budapest since 1986, and is married with 5 sons. He reported on the fall of Communism throughout eastern Europe and the break-up of Yugoslavia for the BBC, Independent, Observer, and Guardian newspapers, including the wars in Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia. He has been Central Europe Correspondent for the BBC since 1996. With BBC colleagues, he won a Peabody award for his coverage of the Refugee crisis in 2015, and a Lovie award for best internet reporting in 2018. 

He is the author of 3 books:

The Road Before Me Weeps – On the Refugee Route through Europe (Yale UP, 2019)

The Danube – A Journey Upriver from the Black Sea to the Black Forest (Yale UP, 2014)

’89 – The Unfinished Revolution – Power and Powerlessness in Eastern Europe (Reportage Press 2009, Endeavour Press 2015). 

He has also directed or presented 18 documentary films, most recently The Danube – Against the Flow (2020), a series for AMC/ Spektrum TV.  

Selected links:

Alison Mutler

Alison Mutler studied Romanian literature and language at the University of London and graduated in 1987. She first reported from Romania, Bulgaria and Moldova before communism ended, and was in Romania, working for British television station ITV during the 1989 anti-communist revolt.  She moved to Romania in 1991 and joined the
Associated Press which she left last year after 25 years. She has been president of the now defunct Foreign Press Association. She is now a correspondent for Romanian startup news site, She occasionally freelances for Coda Story and Radio Free Europe among others.