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BBC World Service Trust: "Sanglap" and "Story Story"

Antonio Lambino's picture

CommGAP, in collaboration with the World Bank’s Demand for Good Governance Peer Learning Network and the World Bank Institute, organized a roundtable yesterday on “The Role of Media in Strengthening Governance.” Dr. Gerry Power, Director of Research & Knowledge Management at the BBC World Service Trust, presented examples from work done in Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. World Bank colleagues Verena Fritz, Governance Specialist and a contributor to this blog, and Sahr Kpundeh, Senior Public Sector Specialist, served as discussant and chair, respectively. Participants included representatives from the media sector, civil society, and other international organizations.

 


It was evident from Dr. Power’s presentation that the BBC World Service Trust’s model takes very seriously the challenge of integrating research into all stages of the project cycle -- from formative research to impact evaluation.  This model of global good practice has enabled the Trust to collect comparative data and distill lessons learned.
 
In Bangladesh, for example, the BBC Sanglap television program facilitates in-studio face-to-face interaction between citizens and government officials, allowing citizens to question and demand accountability from elected leaders. The Trust’s public opinion research found that the program has around seven million viewers per week, and that “86% of the audience surveyed felt that the programmes have improved political debate” in the country and “78% thought the programmes helped ensure transparency and accountability.” 
 
In Nigeria, the BBC Story Story radio drama incorporates governance issues, such as quality of public services and petty corruption, in everyday life. According to the Trust’s research, seven million Nigerians listened to the English version and 11 million listened to the Hausa version. Perhaps more importantly, 80% of “listeners spoke to friends and family about issues raised in the drama” and 51% “said the drama made them think differently about some of the issues featured.”  These results resonate with an important finding from the study of communication: that under certain conditions, interpersonal influence serves as an important determinant of attitude and opinion formation.
 
Dr. Power posited that much more can and should be done to analyze the voluminous data the Trust has collected from various initiatives around the world, toward formulating policy relevant generalizations and lessons learned.  That said, he did present some general findings that are key to understanding the role of media in strengthening governance:
 

 

  • Recognize that the media system does not operate in a vacuum (i.e., a shift in understanding from "the media's impact on governance" to "the media's position within a larger governance context")
  • Articulate the potential of the media within a multiplicity of sources of influence
  • Identify the criteria of influence of each source
  • Establish measures of transparency, accountability, and participation at all levels of analysis: system (e.g., gov’t ministry); organization (e.g., TV or radio station); practitioner (e.g., journalists); and individual (e.g., audience)
  • Differentiate between measures of individual and collective political efficacy (i.e., the feeling/belief of citizens that they are capable of participating in political processes and that they can actually do something that will make a difference)

It was obvious from the presentation and ensuing discussion that the Trust’s research thrust facilitates the type of evidence-based reflection necessary for increased development effectiveness and improved governance.

Photo: Dr. Gerry Power speaking to World Bank colleagues at the CommGAP-United Nations conference on communication and anti-corrupion in Vienna in late 2008.

Comments

Submitted by MizJaz on
I listen to Story Story every Sunday as I organise my family for the week ahead. It is very interesting but also very hard to understand. You see, I am in Nairobi and the program has a very strong Nigerian base to it. I miss some of the humour and anecdotes that run throughout the program. Perhaps something similar to story story for east africa?

Submitted by samuel on
I listen to story story every wednesday on raypower radio and unilag radio on saturdays in nigeria,i enjoy the programme a lot and i wish it could be broadcasted everyday.When linus speaks is konk english and montu monami with his french tone,mallam bello with his hausa language and area(frajile),i love everybody on air. Please help me,is there any where i can get to buy the compact disc or tape of series of edition and listen to it at home,please!!!!! Rgards and keep up the good work SAMUEL

Submitted by samuel on
I listen to story story every wednesday on raypower radio and unilag radio on saturdays in nigeria,i enjoy the programme a lot and i wish it could be broadcasted everyday.When linus speaks is konk english and montu monami with his french tone,mallam bello with his hausa language and area(frajile),i love everybody on air. Please help me,is there any where i can get to buy the compact disc or tape of series of edition and listen to it at home,please!!!!! Rgards and keep up the good work SAMUEL

Hi, Samuel. Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm regarding Story Story! Was hoping to suggest contacting the BBC World Service Trust regarding copies. Please find more info through this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/trust/. Sincerely, Tony

Submitted by Justina on
I am excited each time I listen to Story Story, it is today, the best radio drama on Nigerian radio stations, my judgement, that is.Each time I listen to the programmme, I say to myself, how more prophetic can a drama be?! Story Story is not just a mirror of Nigeria's society, it is a dramatic re-enactment of events in Nigeria. When Story Story talks about corruption, it is exactly the way it is in Nigeria. Before the recent voter registration exercise in Nigeria, Story Story lamented about the fact that underaged children are being used by corrupt politicians to mopp up voter cards, lo and behold, during the voter registration in Nigeria, underaged children stepped out to be registered! Story Story also lamented about the scarcity of registration materials again lo and behold, Nigerians slept at registration centers to be registered due to scarcity of registration materials. Story Story has given me a voice as a citizen because even when I do not have the forum to speak my mind, I know that Story Story has already spoken for me. Keep the good job y'all are doing, keep it up!

Submitted by Samuel Salmob on
Please where or how can I get a copy of story story CD ? I have been following this programme on Ray power radio since 2003.

Submitted by debbie deshi on
this program has taken its rightful place in audio performances. the only way i could express how i feel about story story is just by appraising it. am currently writing my a project on story story and i need copies of the past episodes to enhance my work. please how can i get it or where?

Hi Debbie, Suggest you contact BBC. Here's a link to story story on their website, http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaaction/where_we_work/africa/nigeria/storystory.html

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