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Tue 20 Nov 2012 16:00 BBC Radio 4

Duration:
28 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 20 November 2012

Nick Fraser asks what it takes to get people in the rich world engaged in the issue of global poverty, ahead of the major TV project 'Why Poverty', screening on the BBC in November. Nothing could be more important for the Western media yet, somehow, it never seems to get it right.

Fraser, editor of the BBC's Storyville, is in a unique position to examine the dilemmas. He has been working on the worldwide television project, reaching up to 500 million viewers, for the last three years. He reflects on the difficulties of selling a series on poverty and garners the opinions of others who have attempted to raise awareness around the globe. How can you avoid cliché, sentimentality and callousness? And what stops people turning off?

Fraser heads off to New York to meet an extreme example of his audience, earwigging among some of the wealthiest people on the planet, as they meet to discuss the war on want and attempt to address the world's ills.

Is poverty something the global rich care about or will watching a tear-jerking documentary simply salve their conscience as they plan their next holiday? And what part should the media play: reporting on things as they are or campaigning for how they should be?

Producer: Mark Savage.

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