Media Action Insight Blog
Varinder Kaur Gambhir, Radharani Mitra, Anna Godfrey, BBC Media Action
How many of us ever think about what happens after we flush? Yet with 60% of urban India not connected to modern sewage systems, it is a pressing health issue. As we launch our latest in the Navrangi TV series, we look at the thinking behind this revolutionary drama.
Senior advisor, governance and rights
Tea Cup Diaries recording of customers at tea shop in Myanmar
Within a stone’s throw of Sule Pagoda – one of Myanmar’s oldest and most sacred Buddhist sites – stands a Catholic church, a Hindu temple and a mosque. Worshippers rub shoulders in the nearby streets lined with crumbling colonial homes, Chinese new-builds and the hawkers who sell their wares off the potholed, sun-soaked pavements.
Yet the multi-religious diversity in downtown Yangon masks Myanmar’s darker relationship with religion.
Even when I first moved to Myanmar as a journalist for a local newspaper in 2008, the military regime recognised the media’s power to not only reflect society as it is, but to promote the society they desired. Late on a Saturday evening, we’d sit in the paper’s office, printing presses at the ready, drinking warm Mandalay beer, playing cards and waiting for the cuts from the Press Scrutiny Board (PSB), under the Ministry of Information. Everything from hip hop songs to books had to undergo censorship, and articles that challenged the idea of Myanmar as a…
Varinder Kaur Gambhir, Radharani Mitra, Anna Godfrey
BBC Media Action
How many of us ever think about what happens after we flush?
Yet it’s an issue that concerns governments, sanitation experts, urban planners and public health specialists around the world - particularly in India, where 60% of urban India is not connected to modern sewage systems and relies on on-site sanitation such as septic tanks and leaching pits. This makes faecal sludge management (FSM) a pressing but hidden public health issue.
That’s why five years ago, Madhu Krishna, then deputy director of WASH and communities at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation India, gave BBC Media Action this challenge:
“Could you make faecal sludge management an issue that is as important to people in urban India as air pollution has become? Could you get people to care about what happens after they pull the flush?”
Few homes in India's urban areas are connected to municipal sewerage, making waste management a major health issue. Credit: BBC Media Action
Since the launch of the ambitious Swachh Bharat Mission (Clean India Mission) in October 2014, India has made huge leaps forward in building toilets and…
Idriss Mamoud Tarawallie
Sierra Leone Country Director, BBC Media Action
Sierra Leone’s media landscape has grown significantly since the end of the civil war in 2002. By 2021, there were over 500 registered media outlets, including newspapers and magazines, radio, television and direct to home services, according to the country’s media regulator, the Independent Media Commission (IMC).
This growth has been seen as a positive step toward media pluralism. But that is without taking into account the economic viability, independence, and subsequent ability to produce trusted public interest content. In fact, over half of Sierra Leone’s registered media outlets are either not operational at all, or are frequently off-air or out of circulation.
In such an environment, they cannot fulfil the critical role of media in the public interest – sharing trusted information, providing space for dialogue and debate, and holding leaders to account.
Economic implications for media
These deep-seated challenges of the media reflect the economy of Sierra Leone more broadly. Sierra Leone has low gross domestic product (GDP), a growing, but largely unproductive public sector dominated by patron-client politics, and is driven largely by subsistence informal economy. These…
Project manager, Eastern Europe
Ukrainians sheltering in underground bomb shelters and metro stations rely heavily on news through social media and messaging platforms - our partners are continuing to share trusted information under difficult conditions, and women journalists face particular challenges.
The war in Ukraine is the most recent and explosive example in a wider trend of backsliding of democracy that is taking a toll on women and their inherent rights.
Even before this conflict, speeches, statements, and media content that reinforce gender inequality had increasingly become a political tool used to gain popular support, further undermining women’s rights.
Newsrooms already reflected…
Anju Bhatt and Manju Gautam
Research manager and research officer, Nepal
Our researchers conducting interviews in Nepal
Cases of online abuse against women and girls have spiked in recent years. However, the legal and policy initiatives to address it do not seem to delve deep enough into the grave and changing dynamics of online violence in Nepal, or how this perpetuates gender-based violence in the offline world.
The development in internet and communication technologies has connected people in a way that was…
Digital project director, BBC Media Action India
As use of mobile technologies surges in low and middle income (LMICs) countries, a pressing question has emerged: can the digital revolution be harnessed to empower women – socially, economically and politically - without creating deeper social and gender divides?
This is a particularly critical question in India, where the rates of digital adoption are high – but where the gender gap in digital is among the largest in the world. According to the GSMA, 75% of men but only 55% of women owned a mobile phone in 2020; when it comes to smartphones, the gap is even greater, with only 25% of women…
Sonia Whitehead and Aled Goddard
Head of Research and Programme Manager
Thirty years after declaring independence from the Soviet Union, Georgia is becoming increasingly cosmopolitan, with a highly connected young population and a robust media scene. But where do Georgia’s people turn to find reliable information – and how can truly independent media find financial support to continue? Our researchers set out to learn how.
In a media market where so many outlets have biases to match their financial backers, where do you go to find trusted information?
After 30 years of independence, Georgia has a relatively free media scene – scoring 60 out of 180 countries on…
Independent media development consultant
You could be forgiven for thinking (as I did) that coalition-building is a field of media development where international organisations can play only a modest role.
However, the experiences of local stakeholders who have been involved in long-running advocacy initiatives suggest otherwise. The “Coalitions for Change” workshop held by the PRIMED (Protecting Independent Media for Effective Development) programme, led by BBC Media Action, in autumn 2021 offered a unique insight into the potential for balanced partnerships between international and local actors to bring about systemic change.
Research manager, BBC Media Action
Communication is a critical part of humanitarian response. People need access to relevant, reliable information, so they can make informed decisions about how to keep their families safe. When communities are affected by crisis, we work with local media, government and humanitarian agencies to make sure the voices of communities are heard, and they have access to the information they need.
BBC Media Action has a long history of training media and humanitarian practitioners on the importance of working together to communicate effectively with communities affected by crisis. We have always…
Manju Gautam and Akunna Penny
Research officer & research manager, BBC Media Action
Seeing, the saying goes, is believing. But how true does this hold when it comes to disabilities that are not immediately apparent?
As humans, those of us who can see make sense of the world around us with our eyes – leading to, perhaps, an unthinking look of disapproval for a person without a visible disability who uses the disabled parking bay, or an individual who walks into the airport requesting wheelchair assistance. But it’s important to remember that when it comes to disability, there is often more than meets the eye.
Disability has been recognised as a public health issue by the…