BBC BLOGS - The Editors
« Previous | Main | Next »

Asian Network: Bangladesh at 40

Post categories:

Rifat Jawaid | 17:56 UK time, Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Next week the BBC Asian Network (AN) will dedicate a week's programming to mark the 40th anniversary of Bangladesh's independence.

Bangladesh at 40

On Monday 12 December, the AN team will leave for Bangladesh for two special outside broadcasts from Dhaka. The team will also join various programmes across the BBC to report on the celebrations of a landmark occasion in the history of this young republic.

As an editor on this project, it's been a challenge to oversee the resources spent on sending the team to Dhaka. I was convinced that we needed as many BBC stakeholders on board as possible.

It took a few email exchanges with the BBC London's Managing Editor David Robey and a subsequent meeting with a couple of his colleagues to get the most listened-to BBC local radio station to join our editorial plan. I hoped it would be hard for David and his team to ignore the opportunity to tap into what could be a sizeable audience in the Tower Hamlets area of east London.

It's worth mentioning that while British Bangladeshis constitute less than 1% of the UK population, their impact on the population at large has been profound. According to one statistic, this ethnic group - half a million British Bangladeshis - is responsible for 70-80% of the UK's 12,000 so-called Indian curry houses. And its influence on the wider British population hasn't been confined to our palates.

You only have to trawl through your wardrobe and it may spring a few surprises; I should know! Only the other day I bought some designer baby clothes as a gift for a friend in Bangladesh only to be told that they were "made in Bangladesh". That's how prevalent goods made in Bangladesh have become on our High Streets.

With this episode fresh in my mind, I was optimistic of a positive reaction from Stephen Mawhinney, BBC Radio 5 live's Head of News. And positive he was. Soon I heard from the station's breakfast show editor Scott Solder and the Up All Night team, both of whom were keen to use the services of my team.

I'm excited that my small initiative has fostered an editorial partnership with 5 live. The phrase "value for money" may be a cliche to some, but our approach has allowed me to be a part of some big editorial initiatives with next to no costs. Clever collaborations - within and outside the BBC - are the way forward in these straitened times.

The plan is for Gagan Grewal, one of our flagship presenters, to join 5 live Breakfast and BBC London's breakfast programmes live from Dhaka. On the day of the celebrations (16 December), Gagan will also join the Asian Network's breakfast show briefly before co-hosting part of our mid-morning programme presented by Sonia Deol.

Our pan-BBC partnerships don't end there. Our news team has commissioned a series of special reports from Bangladesh to be played every day during the week. Topics include a the growing phenomenon of reverse migration and how impoverished Bangladeshi children are being trained to survive the fury of floods and cyclones with Olympics money. The story on reverse migration will first be aired on The One Show on 13 December.

We kickstart our Bangladesh at 40 week with a specially commissioned documentary presented by former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq, who is herself of Bangladeshi origin.

In true multimedia spirit, we aim to make most of the reports available on video across various BBC platforms. They include the Asian Network's website, BBC News Online, the video-on-demand site, South Asia online and the 2012 site among others.

We end our coverage with two outside broadcasts from Dhaka on 18 December. One promises to be groundbreaking as it will be the first time the Asian Network has simulcast any of its shows with a commercial radio partner. I originally mooted the idea of a simulcast with Betar Bangla, a relatively new Bengali community radio station in east London, with some long-term gains for both partners in mind.

Nearly half of the 3.5 million British Asians live in London. But as a digital station, the Asian Network has no analogue presence in the capital, an impediment to the aim of growing our reach across the capital.

Partnering with Betar Bangla will allow a big audience group in London to hear our output on an accessible platform - otherwise known as medium wave. In return, Betar Bangla will see a significant improvement in their output as we're committed to providing regular training to their presenters, helping them to become a more truly professional radio station.

Rifat Jawaid is editor of South Asian language programmes at the BBC Asian Network

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    @1 Yes, I suggest the BBC stop broadcasting and just sits there pretending the outside world in all its diversity does not exist, and that its listeners and viewers do not wish to interest themselves in anything beyond their own doorsteps!

    Seriously, I would suggest that many more than just the Bangladeshi population of the UK will like to hear of the celebrations and how the country has developed over these 40 years. I shall listen on the World Service.

  • Comment number 3.

    Personally, I have no interest in Bangladesh, just as most likely the Bangladesh People have no interest in Canada or me.
    The question did cross my mind in that impoverished Bangladeshi children are being trained to survive the fury of floods & cyclones, might they also be being trained to manufacture those "designer baby clothes..."made in Bangladesh" at a margin of the cost that western workers might be paid? Maybe you should find out exactly where in Bangladesh the "designer baby clothes" were made, by whom & at what sort of wage.
    Nonetheless, it is kind of you to acknowledge the 40th anniversary of Bangladesh's independence. Congratulations to them. And thanks for working so hard to accomplish that in which I personally have such a low interest.

  • Comment number 4.

    Interesting, but its a pity its buried deep in the BBC site, stuff like this used to be easily accessible from the homepage, the new homepage is just Football now, so easy too miss other content in the site. Pity,

  • Comment number 5.

    What a bunch of wallies who have contributed so far. Why do we not congratulate and wish them good will for the future??

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    A crude bomb explosion killed at least 1 person in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, as violent clashes broke out between police & the opposition party activists who had gathered to mark country’s 40th independence anniversary. The death was reported in Dhaka’s central Motijheel Commercial District.
    Apparently, clashes erupted in the morning, as police dispersed supporters of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its Islamist ally Jamat-e-Islami, which were gathering together in central Dhaka.
    At least 5 vehicles, including a police jeep, were set afire.
    BNP activists armed with small bombs, bricks & homemade weapons also clashed with law-enforcing agencies near Dhaka University. They threw at least seven small bombs, but no one was injured.
    Police rounded up @ 250 opposition activists, one of whom was killed. Television footage showed police chasing dozens of stone-throwing protesters. BNP Spokesperson, Rizvi Ahmed, said the young man was an activist for the party and blamed police for the death. Bangladesh became an independent nation after a bloody 9-month battle with Pakistan that ended 40 years ago on December 16, 1971.
    That being said, South Asian nation has a history of political instability; BNP and its allies have recently held a series of strikes and seem poised for a new wave of violence.
    Is BBC following this highly-charged situation?

  • Comment number 8.

    Before you get to next week, I have a comment about this week: in your lovely graphic showing 2011 in retrospective, you have an arrow marking the death of Amy Winehouse, but not one marking the death of Steve Jobs?

    Do you realise Mr Jobs made your own jobs in this online interface possible? By making access to BBC so much more available around the world than it would ever have been without his promotion of all those innovative Apple products, which constantly seduced us non-geeks into become tech-savvy, and continuously pushed the state-of-the-art forward, and forward, and forward...? Surely this great good genius of our times (who for some reason some envy) deserves a bit more of a mention? 2011 will be remembered by very many of your readers as the year he left them bereft... He deserves a bit more than for you to have forgotten he even existed in two months flat!

  • Comment number 9.

    Why are we allowed to comment on the BBC aAsian network news
    BUT are not allowed to comment on the BBC Scotland blogs ?

  • Comment number 10.

    Because Rhymer the BBC has become a sad shadow of itself and a socialist propaganda outlet. As someone that grew up in Europe with a healthy respect for the BBC post WWII I am stunned that what was once a world wide respected broadcaster is now a bloated sick outlet. I know there still a few pro's left but from what I can read, see and comprehend those few are self made and are private contractors the rest might as well be on wellfare at least we would not have to put up with their drivel. I personally have had enough and have as of this morning deleted them from my news bookmarks!

  • Comment number 11.

    9.At 21:49 20th Dec 2011, rhymer wrote:
    I would concur with this as it is the same for Northern Ireland where we only have one opportunity to voice our opinion as long as it is about a topic so off the wall on Mark Devenport's BLOG...
    OH and it it happens about once or twice a month.
    The last few topics have been;
    Welfare reform testing NI's 'parity principle' 13th Dec
    Unionist or nationalist? 5th Dec
    'Them and us' 28th Nov

    We are more than a one topic people. We have moved on from sectarianism and have other worries, our economy being just one.

    So how about a BLOG for us?

  • Comment number 12.

    I attended some of the recent talks about global warming and climate change solutions in South Africa as part of the UN COP17 conference. Bangladesh, along with other nations like the Maldives really struggled to really get their points addressed - they will be the most likely victims of a rise in sea level and it was disappointing to see that unlike at the BBC, these countries really have very little clout or leverage to get any sort of visibility in the Western world.

    I think it's great that BBC AN is providing some coverage, especially with Konnie Huq who is superb. Hopefully you will also raise some awareness of the challenges the Bangladesh is facing with respect to climate change as part of it.

    Michelle

  • Comment number 13.

    12. At 01:25 22nd Dec 2011, Michelle Summers

    I think it's great that BBC AN is providing some coverage, especially with Konnie Huq who is superb.


    Yes, Ms. Huq's pedigree in science is just what is needed now.

    Especially on the terrible situation regarding loss of life with floods on ever more populated flood plains, and the problems the Maldives have building new airports.

    Such lack of coverage needs addressing.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    @4 Mark Latham - I agree with your comment. It's unfortunate that many of these countries and indeed regions generally barely get any publicity from the BBC until some ridiculously horrible natural disaster occurs or there is some political revolution (a la the Arab Spring). Definitely think promoting such content makes for interesting viewing, increased awareness of current world news, and much improved general knowledge - I'll bet half the folk in the UK don't realise their local 'Indian' should more accurately be called their local 'Bangladeshi'!

    Kudos BBC - keep it up!

    Nayna

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    '17. At 00:03 7th Jan 2012, Nayna Desai - It's unfortunate that many of these countries and indeed regions generally barely get any publicity from the BBC'

    I had rather thought the BBC's job was to educate and inform, publicity being more the purview of PR agencies.

    Mind you, given that is how the 'news' seems to get sourced these days, fair enough.

    Though the Guardian, and hence the BBC seems to have gone off twitter for a wee while as a valid source (can't think why), so OK.

  • Comment number 20.

    Happy Anniversary Bangladesh. What a resilient country. Hope the next 40 years are great for everyone in Bangladesh.

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    I spent 3 years in a Dhaka suburb. I fell in love with the country - I can only applaud the BBC for shining a spotlight on conditions in the country and the plight of the people. Having said that, the country has developed well in the last decade.

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    I was in Bangladesh shortly after the country's bloody war for independence to do a documentary on an ecumenical effort to help refugees, a trip that changed the way I see the world. I look forward to your look at this remarkable and complex country on the anniversary of its founding, and hope you will also delve into the area's culturally rich past when it was the Bengal region of India. Bangladesh is much more than the poverty the world focuses on.

 

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.