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Monday 21 February 2011

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The international view

I'm sure most of us will agree that the international media spotlight has turned to Ireland a little more often in recent times than is healthy for such a relatively small country.

CNN.com supplies one utterly unscientific but indicative metric to support that point. Try searching the website for 'Irish banking' and refine it for results between Feb 22 2009 and Feb 22 2010; 95 results. Try it again but change the date range to cover the following 12 months; 416 results.

That's quite a spike in interest, I'm sure you'll agree.

And as the many business people who've seen their takings decline and workers who've seen their wages fall over the last year will attest, the saying "all publicity is good publicity" doesn't quite stand up in this instance.

In the next few days a wagon-load (as our presenter Daire O'Brien - proud Corkman that he is - would say) of foreign journalists will land on our shores to cover the election. Spotlights in hand, no doubt.

Others will have been here quite some time watching what has been happening and sending reports back to their home countries in a kaliedoscope of languages far too rhythmic or consonant-ridden for the comprehension of staff at The Eleventh Hour (Google Translate, God bless you, say our researchers).

Some may even be returning again having visited in November to cover the arrival of the IMF/ECB officials.

But how do they plan on covering events this time?

They could take a macro look at the country as it stands post-bail out or get into the nitty-gritty of party politics. They could try analysing the effect of our unusual PR-STV electoral system on our political culture or attempt to explain the differences between the various parties to their respective audiences. They've options aplenty.

We'll have a few of those foreign journalists in studio tonight.

Firstly, we ask a few of them what they plan on saying. Secondly, what is the view of Ireland they're hearing from politicians and the public in their home countries? Thirdly, is that impacting on Ireland's reputation and making it harder for Irish businesses to function overseas? And lastly, is the problem more than simply 'Ireland' and therefore, how significant is this election internationally?

John Murray Brown of The Financial Times, Jochen Bittner of German newspaper Die Zeit and Hervé Amoric of France24 will be on our panel.

They'll be joined by economist David McWilliams and Mark Little, journalist and founder of international media company, Storyful.

Get on to us on Facebook, use the hashtag #rte11 on Twitter or drop us an email to let us know what you think. You can find the contact details all over this website.

As usual the liveblog will be running on rte.ie/eleventhhour once we're on air and we'll be staying in studio after we're off d'telly for an extra few minutes to go through the various comments and put them to our panel. So have your laptop at the ready.