Killing the joy of student travel

WORLDWIDE travel has been a tradition among students and older academics since at least Tudor times and shows young people different places with different languages, food, culture, histories and so on. And most cultures welcome visiting students and are happy to engage with them in exchanges of information, views and traditions. Everybody ends up with a better understanding of the vast spectrum of human society, the differences and the common bonds and values that we share. Such exchanges go a long way to lessen the chance of wars.

This is what makes the BBC’s dirty little stunt of using bona-fide students from the London School of Economics as shields for an underhanded spy foray into the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea so shameful.

And the BBC’s utter contempt for the people of the DPRK, when it said that “only the government of North Korea had been deceived,” as a way to excuse itself, is unforgivable.

This irresponsible stunt will have done untold damage to the credibility of future student trips to many countries — especially those that are routinely demonised by the western media.

The BBC already is unwelcome in some countries that it has traduced in the past. Now it has made visits by students from Britain a matter of suspicion and mistrust