Dalai Lama on covers of street papers worldwide

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama stars on the cover of street papers worldwide from today. His exclusive interview is expected to bring in tens of thousands of extra pounds for homeless people who sell the publications.

The first covers of street papers in the UK and Austria. 

The now 76-year old Dalai Lama gave the interview and rare photo shoot to the International Network of Street Papers, an umbrella organisation for street papers in 40 countries. He praises the street paper model, which empowers homeless vendors who buy magazines at half price and sell them on the streets at the cover price. He also recognises the role of free press and states that “independent media are extremely important” in today’s society.

In the exclusive interview, which took place during his recent UK tour themed ‘Be the Change’, the Dalai Lama says he identifies with homeless street paper vendors: “On some level, I am also homeless.”

Commenting on the global financial crisis and austerity measures affecting innocent citizens, he says: “The real causes of the present difficulties started with the past governments and some companies. I think, without a proper plan in place, they are simply concerned about immediate profit and are not concerned about the long-term consequences. […] The results now are due to their own actions. Either way, for thousands of people, their livelihood is almost zero, which is really very, very sad.”

Regarding censorship by totalitarian regimes, including China, he says: “The 1.3 billion Chinese people have every right to know the reality. And once they know the reality of their situation, they also have the ability to judge what is right and what is wrong. That is why censorship is immoral.”In the interview, he also expresses his concerns about a lack of moral ethics, particularly among the youth, following last year’s UK riots: “When I first heard that through the BBC, I was shocked. I considered people in the UK to be more mature and more peaceful.”

INSP’s news agency distributed the story to its 122 street papers in 10 languages. The story will reach over 1 million readers worldwide.

INSP Editor Danielle Batist said: “To have an exclusive interview with the Dalai Lama is an extraordinary achievement for INSP and our street papers. The setting, a Scottish castle outside Inverness, was great for the photo shoot as well. The fact that our 12,000 vendors will directly benefit from this interview really helped us to secure it, and we are immensely grateful to His Holiness for his support.”

“He talked very openly about many issues, including the global recession, media censorship in China, climate change and homelessness. As a bonus, he posed for some special cover photos and even agreed to some rare shots of himself without his glasses on. I urge readers around the world to go and buy a copy from their local street paper vendor today.”