The aim of this paper is to assess and critique the role of the media in a previous development communication project. It will explore different aspects of the project, outline and critique the role of the media, and conclude with an assessment of the overall successes and failures of the project.
The development communication project I have decided to analyse is a comprehensive, mass media campaign undertaken in India Between 2001 and 2007 by the BBC World Service Trust (BBC WST). The objective of the project was to raise awareness about the dangers of HIV/AIDS and how the disease is spread, as well as change public attitudes by encouraging healthy dialogue and debunking myths and stereotypes.
The media has a critical role in promoting these types of development projects. For instance, goals like promoting gender equality and empowering women as well as combatting deadly diseases like HIV/AIDS and malaria hinge on getting critical information out. The role of the media in supporting development initiatives has been highlighted by academic theory and officials in various development agencies.
The BBC World Service Trust had good reason to undertake this project. HIV/AIDS was becoming a serious problem in India. By 2006, nearly six million people in living India had HIV/AIDS according to a Centre for Disease Control 2006 report on HIV/AIDS. The report further highlights that this statistic made India the second-highest HIV-infected population in the world, with sexual transmission accounting for 85% of HIV infections (cdc.gov, 2006).
A major component of the campaign was to harness the power of broadcast media. To this end, BBC WST enlisted the help of Bollywood, India’s extremely popular film industry. This was essential for this ambitious information campaign as “the press, radio, television, and cinema…have become the place through which we receive most our information…so they are the primary source for how we see the world.” (Shaughnessy & Stadler,...