Social action programmes
One of the BBC World Service Trust's key roles is to encourage programming on topics not traditionally covered by the local media, and to foster partnership between media organisations and sectors such as NGOs, educational establishments and the civil service.
Bringing Romanian NGOs and Journalists closer together
NGOs only recently started to emerge in Romania, paving the way for a more civil society and many have yet to maximise the opportunities provided by the vehicle of a free media. Equally the new media groups have yet to discover and understand the role of NGOs in society and how they can be of advantage to the media.
BBC World Service Trust was funded by the UK National Lottery Charities Board to bridge the gap between NGOs and the media in Romania by encouraging the two sectors to work together on joint projects. The objective was to build mutual respect and good working relationships between the third sector and fourth estate. In Romania, where the project closed in April, the campaign has comprised of:
- a 10 part radio series made with national state radio
- a daily report and phone-in on breakfast television
- a training video pack for 1,500 NGOs and resource centres
Below are just some of the comments from listeners:
There are more and more people who need help…and this series offers a solution.
It gives you extra information and an informed man is a powerful man. If the government cannot do anything to help us anymore, then this is something we should take into consideration.
Instructive - informative. That means instructive for those who haven't yet heard about these organisations, and informative for those like me who are aware of these organisations but want to know more.
Something should be done. And the programme shows that something can be done, as long as there is somebody interested in doing it.
FNR programmes help Russians understand and relate to their changing society. For instance, the award winning soap opera “Dom Syem” aims to replicate the very real situations of the Russian people so that listeners relate to the characters and the storylines. As one viewer commented “I would refer to this series as an educational programme based on real life. They attract your attention to certain aspects which you have sort of missed.”
The FNR should be seen as a landmark for all future partners involved in sustainability projects and can be used as a best practice case study. After BBC World Service Trust withdraws from the project in April 2001, the FNR will have the appropriate skills to continue their award-winning output BBC standards.
Veronika Dmitrieva, General Manager at the FNR and can be reached at: email@example.com or FNR website.
BBC Soap Opera Takes Albania By Storm
Rruga Me Pisha, (Pine Street) Albania's first ever contemporary radio soap opera is close to achieving record nationwide audience figures for a BBC soap opera and is taking the country by storm. According to a nationwide survey, 65% of the country are tuning in regularly to the drama about everyday life in Europe's poorest country.
The soap opera – which was a finalist for the New York Festival Awards - is a joint production of BBC World Service Trust and Albania's national radio station, Radio Tirana. It started bi-weekly transmission last December 1999 and is funded by EU Phare and the British Government's DfID with a remit to promote tolerance and understanding in Albania.
It deals with life in a fictional suburb of the capital city, Tirana. Over the past eight months it has dealt with issues as diverse as domestic violence, blood feuds, institutional corruption and land disputes. Under the terms of the contract with the two funders (PHARE and DfID), the BBC World Service Trust is training local staff in all aspects of soap opera production so that the project will be fully managed by Radio Tirana and sustainable by December 2000. BBC World Service Trust is currently seeking funding for Phase II of the project which will commence at the beginning of 2001.
“It's made a great impact” says Rupert Wolfe Murray, Deputy Director of IRC, one of the largest NGOs in the country. “The soap opera is addressing issues of real concern in this country, but in an imaginative and creative way. It's done a lot to fill the information vacuum and put across solid well researched facts to the listeners”
Democratising the Media - Russia and Ukraine
Taking drama one step closer to real life, Russians will have the opportunity to have their own stories and problems dramatised on national radio this autumn. The BBC World Service Trust is overseeing a unique experiment in democracy, in which Russian soap opera fans will be encouraged to write in with their own personal stories and hear them a month later on House Seven, Russia's eight-year old soap opera.
The soap opera concept is funded by the EU Democracy and Human Rights Fund and is part of a larger initiative for a radio project in Russia and the Ukraine. This project will develop civil society and create a more democratic media by bringing the voice of the “unheard” into mainstream radio. The project will also establish a new radio format for both countries, “Audio Diaries”, which will give the public direct access to radio. The diaries will be an original source of people's views at the beginning of the new century and will become “Y2K - the People's Archive” which will be stored in Moscow, Kiev and at the European Institute for Media in Dusseldorf.
BBC World Service Trust will draw on the expertise already gained in the production of a series of short television programmes called Video Nation which has immense popularity in the UK. The local partners who will make the audio diaries are the Foundation for Independent Radio Broadcasting (FNR) in Moscow and the Centre for Media Initiatives in Kiev.
For more information on the BBC WST Development initiatives: Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or +44 0207 557 1429