Publication Date

These guides are intended for media professionals working to help audiences affected by humanitarian crises. They give a brief overview of common humanitarian issues in emergencies, which are designed to help the media understand: the kinds of problems audiences are likely to be facing in emergencies, and how they can best support relief experts by providing audiences with accurate, relevant, and life-saving information.

As explained in the guides, they are intended to serve as a starting point to help the media identify the kinds of issues to address in media programmes and the questions to ask relief experts.  Media professionals are also encouraged to speak with local humanitarian specialists in order to help identify topics to prioritise, and, if possible, to also speak with people affected by the crises to find out what they need to know.

The following guides are available for downloading:

  • Food - Food security is about helping people access enough safe and nutritious food to enable them to live a healthy and active life.
  • Shelter - Humanitarian agencies working on shelter focus on three areas: shelter, settlement, and non-food items such as blankets.
  • WASH - Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) covers topics relating to safe water, removal of waste (toilets and waste disposal), and health promotion.
  • Child Protection - Child protection in emergencies (CPiE) refers to efforts to prevent and respond to abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence against children.
  • Mine Action - Mine action concerns the clearance, risk education, victim assistance, advocacy and destruction of landmines and explosive remnants of war.
  • Education - Education in emergencies is about enabling structured learning to continue in times of crisis, from early childhood development through to adult education.
  • Gender-based Violence - Gender-based violence can be physical, emotional, psychological or sexual violence directed against a person on the basis of gender.
  • Psychosocial Support - Psychosocial support is about helping individuals and communities to recover from, and remain strong in the face of adversities.

When using the guides, the media are encouraged to:

  • Consider the local situation, culture and context to make sure the information is relevant
  • Consider the specific needs of different audiences (for example, men, women, the most vulnerable people)
  • Check for consistency with other sources of  information being provided
  • Consult qualified local specialists to check the validity and relevance of  humanitarian information
  • Use the guides in conjunction with BBC Media Action’s Lifeline Production Manual, which contains guidelines on how to do effective programming in crises (see Related Summary below).
Free to download



BBC Media Action website on December 1 2016.