Samantha Asumadu interviews author and broadcaster Matt Potter

Samantha Asumadu interviews author and broadcaster Matt Potter

This has been an information war

  1. You’ve shown an intense interest in Ukraine over the past few days as have many other, reporters, correspondents, politicians and hackers. What is your new book about and what has it got to do with Ukraine or Russia?
  2. Which last conflict did you watch closely – how did it roll out compared to this one? Did you watch ARAB SPRING?
  3. Communicating on platforms, porn, social media (In 2010 it was Facebook) has the world moved on from Facebook since the January 6th protesters were arrested?

4 What would your advice to Yemen, Afghanistan, Nigerian and Armenian grassroots activists be?

INTERVIEWEE: Author, journalist, broadcaster (ex-BBC, Telegraph, writer of BBC books) Matt’s first book tracked post-Soviet pilots running arms, drugs and worse from Afghanistan to Somalia. Hailed as a “dazzling” book of history and first-person reportage, ‘Outlaws Inc: Flying with the World’s Most Dangerous Smugglers’ became a Top 10 WHSmith bestseller, now published in 29 languages through Bloomsbury, Pan MacMillan, Ullstein, Einaudi, Reader’s Digest and others. ‘Outlaws Inc’ is now in production as a Hollywood movie through Thunder Road Studios, the team behind ‘The Expendables’.

Matt’s story tracking these merchants of death became part of the 2014 Sundance Festival Award-winning documentary feature film ‘The Notorious Mr Bout’, by Tony Gerber and Maxim Pozdorovkin. The film won acclaim, and became part of the BBC 2 Storyville 2015 season, ‘Arms Dealer: The Notorious Mr Bout’. Matt now works consulting with monitoring and investigative groups tracking arms and crime across borders.

His second book, an alternate history of the world as it has been shaped by entropy and the force of quitting, was published in 2015, entitled ‘F**k You & Goodbye: The Dark & Hilarious History of the Resignation’. In it, Matt examined the phenomenon of quitting as a historical force, from the Berlin Wall and the American Civil War to Iraq, Thatcher and neoliberalism. It became a Waterstone’s bestseller, and was republished in expanded format, with new material as ‘The Last Goodbye: A History of the World in Resignations’, in the UK, Commonwealth, USA and internationally.

INTERVIEWER: Samantha Asumadu is a crisis campaigner, radical organiser, writer, publisher, former documentary filmmaker and breaking news reporter. She founded Media Diversified in 2013 as a vehicle to foreground the voices of people of different ethnicities all over the world

She has written for the Guardian, Telegraph, Open Democracy, Black Ballad, Media Diversified, Ceasefire Magazine and New Statesman and been interviewed on Radio 4 Womans Hour, LBC, BBC World and other BBC programmes including BBC World Service, BBC London and the Victoria Derbyshire show.

Her decades long commitment to grassroots activism led to her campaigning about women’s representation in Theatre, child abuse in war zones, media equity, the Nationality and Borders Bill, Indeterminate Sentence for Public Protection (IPP) and Sickle cell anemia. As a journalist she was based in East Africa, where she covered stories such as Acid Attacks, Blood Minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Kampala bombings of 2010 for news outlets including CNN, Deutsche Welle, Sky News, France 24 and Agence France Presse.

As a journalist she was based in East Africa, where she covered stories such as Acid Attacks, Blood Minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Kampala bombings of 2010 for news outlets including CNN, Deutsche Welle, Sky News, France 24 and Agence France Presse.

She directed, scripted and co-produced her first film for Aljazeera English in 2009. The Super Ladies is about three Ugandan women rally drivers and a race with a dramatic outcome. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and in 2016 Samantha was a judge at the Editorial Intelligence UK Comment Awards and was on the advisory panel for the British Film Institute’s Black Star Season

She is currently writing her debut book The Wannabe – At the centre of this unconventional memoir is a celebration of the white, brown and black working classes. The unsung heroes and the dirtbags.

It’s a true story from the point of view of a former foreign correspondent about danger and love, the art of letter writing, betrayal, mental health and the power of words.


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