UK visitor compares school in England to Oakland

UK visitor compares school in England to Oakland

Pearl Joy Balagot

Mohamed Saleem speaks to Media Academy students on Sept. 20.

School in England is much stricter than in America, students in Media Academy’s newspaper  class learned on Sept. 20.

Mohamed Saleem spoke to the newspaper class about life in England and the role of the media in the United Kingdom. Saleem is one of the many foreign visitors whom Media Academy hosts in partnership with the International Visitor Leadership Program.

Saleem is the head of communications for the Cordoba Foundation, a British research organization that hopes to promote the ideas of different religious and cultural groups by the way of  policies in the U.K.

Below is part of the transcript from the press conference held by the Green & Gold staff.

How much do you travel?
Saleem: About two times a year. When I was working in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, I flew every two weeks between the countries.

Do you have to pay for your travel?
Saleem: Sometimes the organizations pay for me, but I am self-employed so I pay myself and get reimbursed.

How do you think having a (high school) newspaper class in the UK would benefit the students?
Saleem: It would help people understand each other and open them up to opportunities to see the world differently.

Do you think the UK has a negative perception of the media?
Saleem: Currently, in the UK we have a scandal with [Rupert] Murdoch whose news corps is accused of phone tapping. They went even as far as tapping into war vets and widows. The tabloids’ media has a 24-hour news cycle and journalists have to find a way to meet that need. It would be helpful to stop negative perceptions. Media needs to be as objective as possible, but you can’t do that if you have a media mogul [in charge].

Is there freedom of speech in the UK?
Saleem: The government does not censor, but know you have the threat of legal action if you publish something wrong, slanderous.

After the death of princess Diana, there was a gentleman’s agreement between the press and the government. The media wouldn’t report on Prince William and Prince Harry growing up.
In the wake of the phone tapping scandal, [people are] questioning the role of the media.

What are the big differences between the U.S. and the U.K. schools? Are there school buses in the U.K.?
Saleem: One of the big differences is that the U.S. is really huge. Each state is like a country. Here, the local newspapers don’t get a lot of international news. I had to go online to get international news.

That’s nothing like in the U.K. There aren’t any school buses in the U.K., journalism is an after school class. There aren’t any school newspapers, which are common [in America], but magazines.

I went to a public school and we had to wear uniforms. We wore trousers, a suit jacket and tie. We had to get permission from the principal to take off our jackets. We couldn’t have any facial hair; we had to have our hair cut in a certain way. We could even get a dressing detention. Our school was also six days [a week].