TV series on global education issues
Global challenges, problems and processes that are not directly related to the daily “news” are not given much space in the Polish media. This results on the one hand from the general tendency to promote high-profile news that attracts the public’s attention. This often happens at the expense of in-depth analysis and showing the wider context of events, more complex processes, etc. On the other hand, it has to do with the limited budgets of television stations to present foreign issues – preparing good material, reports and foreign interviews demands a significant investment of finance, time and labour.
On the other hand, presenting more challenging global or international issues solely on the basis of standard agency photos prevents independent commentary. The showing of the wider aspects of a given phenomenon is not very attractive to viewers, which translates into lower audiences for this type of material.
Opinion polls carried out at the request of the Polish foreign ministry show that Poles support the idea of helping poorer countries – almost 2/3 of respondents in 2015 felt that Poland should support less developed countries. At the same time, analysis of survey results shows that the understanding of Poles of the idea of development co-operation is at a much lower level. Only 22% of respondents say they have had contact with subjects relating to development aid, while as many as 89% gained their knowledge on these issues from TV. These results therefore indicate that television remains the main source of knowledge about Polish development co-operation. Therefore, it is extremely important that information transmitted in this way is at an appropriate level.
TV series on global education issues
The aim of this project is to introduce on television issues relating to global education, presented in an attractive, interesting and inspiring way for the audience to deepen their knowledge in this area.
As part of the project, in December (once a week) in the evening schedule on Polsat News 2, in the program To był dzień na świecie [That was the day in the world], an educational series will be broadcast presenting selected issues on global education, sustainable development, global interdependence and human rights. The project is a continuation and development of activities carried out in co-operation with the HumanDOC Foundation with this partner in 2013 and 2015.
The project involves the preparation and broadcast of four reports of 15-20 minutes each. Broadcasts will take place in December as part of the evening news schedule. A complement and extension to the reports will be a studio discussion immediately after the premiere of each broadcast. The reports will be prepared in close cooperation between representatives of the HumanDOC foundation and journalists from Polsat, Polsat News and Polsat News 2.
The reports will present selected topics concerning global education. They will be enriched with broader factual data, such as statistics and information about the activities of Poland and the international community. For each report, an outline will be prepared, which will be sent to the partner in order for the presenters and journalists to prepare for the studio discussion. Data will also be made available in an article that will be published on the website polsatnews.pl, where after its TV premiere each successive report will be available. By making the reports available on the internet and planned repeat broadcasts, the project will reach a wide audience across the country.
TV series on global education issues
The project consisted in producing and broadcasting four TV documentaries filmed in Peru, Burma, Georgia and Tanzania. As the HumanDoc Foundation was partnered by Poland News 2, on each Thursday in December its viewers could watch a documentary and a studio discussion afterwards.
Broadcast in the “To był dzień na świecie” programme, the documentaries were chiefly directed at viewers previously unfamiliar with the subject of global education. Their form was suited to the audience’s perceptive capacities, i.e. of a demonstrative, not analytical, nature. Their running time was on average 22 minutes.
The documentaries covered the following issues:
- The “children of the street” is one of South America’s most severe societal problems and challenges, in certain areas representing as much as 30% of the urban population. Poverty, violence, drugs, uncertainty—this is everyday life for thousands of children and teenagers from the slums of Peru’s capital, Lima. A third generation of young people is growing up on the street. Many of them have no home at all; for many the word “mama” has no meaning; many have no prospects for a better future. Others spend days and nights outside, to support themselves and their families, often through prostitution, robbery or stealing. Unfortunately, local authorities and the public are unable to tackle the problem. Only a tiny percentage of thousands of street children have a chance to change their lives and make it to one of the houses run by non-governmental organisations. The Salesian Order run the “Father Don Bosco Open House” in Lima for street boys. Several dozen boys can live and learn there until adulthood when they are ready to move out and start their own lives.
- Myanmar (Burma) is increasingly becoming associated with transformation, nascent civil society, political transformation, democratisation, and the growing role of civil liberties and independent media in society’s growth. One of the world’s most cruel military regimes decided to open up the gates of the “Golden Earth” to the world and since 2010 has been consistently carrying through its plan of seven steps to democracy. The generals swapped their uniforms for suits, while the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who spent fifteen years in house arrest, is now a member of parliament. Amnesty for prominent political prisoners and the hastily signed truce deals with most of the ethnic guerrilla groups have persuaded the international community to lift its long-standing economic sanctions.
- The lives of Georgians living in the countryside, in small towns and villages which are increasingly lagging behind the dynamically growing capital and tourist sites. A quarter century into transformation, many of Georgia’s regions have fell into decline. Some have lost as much as half of their populations in the last two decades. Crisis and emigration have left their painful stamp on the functioning of entire communities. Social problems escalated and are present in Georgia’s countryside on a scale incomparable to e.g. Europe. Alcoholism and domestic violence in their most cruel form (killings of wives or suicides of women who are victims of abuse) are a grave problem. The documentary also presents the female activists of Merkuri Association, a Georgian partner organisation of the Humandoc Foundation.
- Environmental pollution and degradation in Tanzania is one of Africa’s main problems, also affecting other world regions. Tanzania and Kenia are local leaders in introducing solutions designed to counteract those processes. These countries are home to the first ever technological revolution to be taking place in the villages of the Global South instead of the cities of the Global North. Thanks to foreign donors and increasingly on a commercial basis, solar energy technologies are being implemented with a view to electrifying African villages. Only half of Tanzania’s population have access to electricity. The growing popularity of solar energy means that each year sees new recipients of electricity. Solar energy does not only prevent the growing pollution of Africa’s environment; it is also a catalyst for social and economic changes, contributes to reducing poverty and boosting entrepreneurship, facilitates access to education, and improves the quality of health care.
The documentaries were aired a few times in December 2017 as part of the “To był tydzień na świecie” (TBTNS) programme on Poland News 2 (PN2) and Polsat TV channels (in morning previews), followed by studio discussions. The films are also available online at www.polsatnews.pl and IPLA TV (at three sites: as part of the “To był dzień na świecie” programme, separately, and in the HumanDoc section).
Another important project outcome was attracting the attention of Polish journalists and media producers in the global education subject matter, by engaging them in the project’s implementation. By enjoying the possibility of preparing their own materials and commenting on them on the show, these recipients were encouraged to think about foreign affairs through the prism of global education. In this context, the project’s goal was to persuade this group that global education and development cooperation issues might be worthy of interest and air time. This goal has been successfully attained not only with respect to PN2 and PN journalists and publishers but also to Polsat’s executives and board, who were directly involved in this project’s implementation and oversight. In line with the project’s guidelines, it targeted a group of approximately 50 recipients.
It is also worth to mention the interviews with representatives of non-governmental organisations and institutions involved in development cooperation, which put the spotlight on their hard work. Altogether, the project presented the outcome of projects by six organisations, including Polish ones.