BBC Media Action
Genevieve Hutchinson, Senior Health Advisor, Advisory & Policy Team
Rumours and mis- and dis-information, including false cures and the disease’s spread, can be as harmful as the virus itself. Here are our top tips for media reporting on public health emergencies to help make sure audiences are informed, connected to the services they need, and inspired to cope.
Mohammed A. Gaas
Deputy Country Director, Somalia
As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 increase across Africa, and the World Health Organization warns the pandemic is accelerating, we fear the novel coronavirus is spreading within and from densely populated urban areas on the continent. Rising cases in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu are especially worrying, which is already disrupted by years of conflict, and struggling to support thousands of internally displaced people (IDPs).
Recent flooding has also increased the number of internally displaced people into urban areas, creating the perfect environment for infectious disease such as acute watery diarrhoea and measles. And there are concerns that the virus will further spread, unnoticed, in congested camps.We at BBC Media Action are still working to ensure programmes and training continue to help support the most vulnerable members of society.
We’ve started this by working to ensure the safety of our staff in our Somalia office, especially production teams and…
Senjuti Masud and Bishawjit Das
Journalism Mentors, BBC Media Action Bangladesh
This week sees the launch of Inclusive Futures. BBC Media Action joins disability and development specialists, and global leaders from 15 organisations coming together under one initiative. The goal is to ensure opportunities for people with disabilities and a future that’s disability inclusive. In Bangladesh, our journalism mentors Senjuti Masud and Bishawjit Das have been training journalists to improve how people with disabilities are portrayed in the media and tackle negative stereotyping and perceptions. Read their story…
“The way people with disabilities here are being portrayed in the media is from a lens of pity or sympathy,” Senjuti explains. “So, when employers are looking at them, they’re looking at them as a burden to the society, not good enough, not capable enough to contribute to the economy. This is what we want to challenge.
Through our training of media professionals, BBC Media Action shows journalists that disability inclusion widens the scope of their story. It…
Mariatu Kabba and Victor Kamara
Journalism mentors, BBC Media Action Sierra Leone
People all over the world are having to adapt their ways of working in the COVID-19 pandemic, and we in Sierra Leone are no exception. But working amid limited internet connectivity and inconsistent power supply makes that adaptation even more challenging.
In a way, we were lucky - as one of the last countries in the world to be hit by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Still, when the first cases emerged and regional travel restrictions came into force, this came as quite an adjustment to our usual ways of working.
We’d been preparing a new training course for our radio partners on communicating in health emergencies. BBC Media Action runs regular Lifeline programming training to help partners to engage with, connect and inform their audiences on health issues, should a crisis arise.
We usually run regular training sessions on communicating in health emergencies face-to-face
Suddenly, we were faced with having to deliver the whole course remotely – during a pandemic - when it mattered more than ever. BBC Media Action has vast experience in Sierra Leone of training local…
Country Director, BBC Media Action Myanmar
As our flagship peace-building radio drama, The Tea Cup Diaries, marks its fifth anniversary, learn how the show has helped bridge divides between diverse communities in Myanmar, and how it continues to support and entertain its loyal following during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The eclectic cast of The Tea Cup Diaries
A young inter-faith couple falling in love and marrying despite their parents’ concerns, an adopted daughter on a mission to…
Producer with Radio Maata, Kenya
As the world grapples with COVID-19, a small rural community in Turkana County, Kenya recently faced another crisis: flash flooding. Local weather producer and BBC Media Action mentee, Vivian Achwa, shares her experience of meeting affected communities and seeing first-hand how the climate crisis continues even in the midst of a pandemic.
People in Kanukurudio village assemble around a water pump destroyed by flash flooding
Nothing could have prepared me for what I experienced when…
Chief Executive Officer, BBC Media Action
As for billions of people around the world, the past few months have been a story of adaptation and change for BBC Media Action.
We have rapidly changed how we work in ways we’d never imagined – from writing, producing and packaging an Indonesian drama series entirely from home, to setting up mobile surveys in Zambia to understand how concerns about the pandemic differ among rural and urban…
Country Director, BBC Media Action Bangladesh
A BBC Media Action cameraman films in a COVID-19 isolation centre in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo by Khandokar Hasanul Banna, BBC Media Action
Nearly a million Rohingya people still live in refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Having survived terrible violence, they now face the dual threats of the first confirmed cases of COVID-19, and flooding and landslides from Cyclone Amphan. Here is how BBC Media Action is helping people prepare and cope.
Bangladesh is well-versed in cyclone preparation – but preparing for a cyclone in a time…
Country Director, BBC Media Action Afghanistan
Accurate and trusted information is critical to coping with the COVID-19 pandemic – especially when communities are already facing insecurity, as in Afghanistan. Find out how our flagship national TV discussion programme, Open Jirga, has adapted to life under lockdown to continue supporting audiences across the country to cope.
“How can families deal with the mental health effects related to…
Country Director for BBC Media Action, Iraq
A pop song about protecting yourself from COVID-19 is blaring from loudspeakers in a hospital in Baghdad and has racked up over 9 million views on YouTube. The public interest broadcaster behind it, Al Mirbad, is a rare and trusted voice for news and information in Basra – read more about its vital work during the pandemic from our Iraq country director, Abir Awad.
Still from an Al Mirbad video skit about COVID-19
Iraq was just registering…
Producer and Presenter for Radio Bamyan, Afghanistan
Through our project Her Voice, Her Rights in Afghanistan, we’re supporting female journalists across the country to produce programmes that support women and girls’ empowerment. Learn more in this guest blog by Mastora Pakbin, a radio journalist and BBC Media Action mentee in Bamyan Province.
My home province, Bamyan, in Afghanistan is famous for its beautiful climate and ancient Buddha statues…