Becoming BBC Media Action
Executive Director, BBC Media Action
Welcome to our new blog and website and the main launch of our new name: BBC Media Action. We are excited about unveiling a new look and identity for the BBC’s international development charity – and we hope you like it. Please let us know what you think as we will be testing and refining the site over the next few months.
The process of changing our name and introducing a new logo has allowed us to reflect on who we are, why we exist and where we are heading. It has also provided an invaluable opportunity to share stories, talk about what we believe in, and discuss the positive and lasting difference that our work makes to millions of people around the world.
This website helps encapsulate some of those conversations, sharing the personal observations and insights of our colleagues, partners and audiences around the world. It is summed up by the phrase ‘My Media Action’ with the emphasis on ‘my’, and expresses multiple perspectives on why our work matters.
Three BBC Media Action colleagues have made short films that are launched on the website today, you can watch Diana on Somalia, Josephat in Tanzania, and Dipika in Nepal. We’ll be adding more to the site over the next few weeks and months. They encapsulate the powerful role media and communication plays in development.
I’ve been genuinely delighted at how quickly and naturally we have all started using ‘Media Action’ not just as a name but as a way to describe what we do.
We use media and communication to enable people to take action to improve their lives: through adopting a new practice like using bed nets to prevent malaria, or knowing where to get help in the aftermath of disaster, or to be aware of and then claim rights, for example for those who have been trapped in bonded labour.
We have asked colleagues from around the world to tell a short story about their work – to describe an ‘action’ that they have seen or undertaken. I knew we had good storytellers, creativity is BBC Media Action’s lifeblood, but I hadn’t anticipated quite how moving and uplifting some of these tales would be.
Our work is all about sharing voices, ideas and opinions and this new website is designed to do just that. We know the difference the work makes and have a large research and learning team helping shape and monitor our work. Through media we are able to operate at scale and in the past year alone we have reached 250 million people. We reach out to the most marginalised individual and say ‘your voice matters’.
We want to know what you think. Tell us what you think of the website and post your comments in this blog, share your thoughts on Twitter or visit our Facebook page. More than anything else, let us know about your own media actions, and where possible let’s work together to use the power of media and communication to help transform people’s lives.
Media and communication can help bring people together, it helps them learn, and it can help those who have been ignored to be heard. I’m reminded of Ya Take Ne, a Nigerian radio show that focuses on HIV and AIDS. It’s aimed at young people, is highly interactive, and it manages to make talking about problems and sharing solutions ‘cool’.
One young listener from Abuja told us how the programme had enabled him to take a hugely important – potentially life-saving – step:
“As a result of listening I went to get tested and confirmed my HIV status. I’m able to know there is nothing to be scared of and that no matter what your status turns out to be you can live with it. My family has been ok about everything. When I tell them I am taking part in a programme or off to meet the programme-makers my Dad seems a bit amazed. But he is not negative and the whole family listen especially when I am taking part!”
So that message and knowledge doesn’t just impact on the individual listener, it extends to his closest relations and relationships, helping reduce stigma and encourage healthy behaviour.
One of our organisational values is ‘audience is at the heart of what we do’ and we hope this new website will help embody and amplify the voices of those we work with.