Michael Herrod at ITV News on how coronavirus has impacted foreign news coverage

For our latest online IBT briefing, we were joined by Michael Herrod, Head of Foreign News and Tom Clarke, Science Editor at ITV News. 

ITV News has a longstanding commitment to bringing international stories to a mainstream audience, covering everything from big news events and political disruption to the human impact of climate change. During the lively discussion, Michael explained how he hopes that ITV’s foreign news coverage helps to bring international stories to an audience that wouldn’t usually hear about them.

“I see our role generally as opening people’s eyes to events, countries and stories that they perhaps wouldn’t otherwise be interested in, or know about.”

We also heard from ITV News Science Editor, Tom Clarke, who offered plenty of useful insights into how they plan to approach COP26 and climate change coverage over the coming months. The climate crisis is a key focus area for ITV News, and our members from Oxfam, Islamic Relief and Tearfund were able to share their thoughts on how climate stories could fit alongside the current coronavirus coverage.

“It’s a question about how we as journalists can keep climate change on the agenda.”

It was encouraging to hear Michael explain that there is still a healthy appetite for global stories amongst their UK audience, and both Michael and Tom were able to share advice with our members on how to best pitch them stories, as well at the types of stories that their audience is most interested in.

Find out more in our ‘Meet the Editor’ interview below. Registered IBT Members can read the detailed briefing notes and watch the full briefing recording from the membership dashboard.


What WaterAid can teach us about handwashing

IBT member, WaterAid, is one of the world’s leading experts on handwashing and hygiene promotion and the COVID-19 pandemic has given its work added urgency. Om Prasad Gautam shares his top tips on achieving the change in behaviour that is necessary if the pandemic is to be tackled successfully.

The current battle against the spread of the COVID-19 has highlighted in horrifically stark terms the fundamental importance of handwashing with soap and water in controlling the spread of infectious diseases. Three billion people across the world – and 75% of the population in the least developed countries – do not have access to somewhere to wash their hands with soap and water.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, this lack of the most basic of services together with a denial of rights to water and sanitation, led every year to tens of thousands of deaths from diarrhoeal and waterborne diseases, mostly hidden from the headlines and ignored by those with the power to change this situation.

Now in the face of a terrifying disease, everyone is having to learn quickly about putting hygiene at the heart of daily life. Currently, fear is acting as a powerful stimulus for people to drastically change their behaviour, but we know this may not last for long. Here are the key lessons that we have learnt from working in this field for almost 40 years.

1. It’s more than just soap and water

You can’t just give people soap and expect them to want to use it, know how to use it or why. If you are forced to decide between buying food or school books or soap, then just being told that soap is important is not enough to put it on the shopping list and change behaviour around washing hands.

We all know that knowledge only is not enough – otherwise we would all adhere faithfully to public health guidelines on exercise, diet, smoking etc. Key to bringing about lasting behaviour change is understanding and targeting the motives that drive people to change their habits – so they can move from knowledge to actual practice. When there is an outbreak of disease like now or during Ebola outbreaks, a motivation to change behaviour can be fear but it can be temporary stimulus.

But Ebola showed us that often behaviours adopted during a time of acute crisis do not become long term so WaterAid works with other motivations such as nurture –loving your family and wanting to protect them. Other drivers include a sense of wanting to fit in and so we work to make washing hands a social norm.

2. It has to include everyone

Gender, age, disability, ethnicity, race, religion and economic and health status all play a part in determining who will and won’t have access to the basic necessities of clean water, sanitation and handwashing facilities.

We are committed to tackling inequalities across all strata of society and our programmes always consider how everyone, especially those that are the most marginalised – can access them.

3. Go beyond your immediate sector

What’s clear is that there are strategic moments when messages and lessons around hygiene are most effectively transmitted and it is often by working in tandem with other sectors, such as health or education, that change is most successfully implemented. For example, we reached thousands of mothers with life-saving hygiene lessons in Nepal when they took their babies to be vaccinated in a government-run routine immunisation programme.

4. Schools, homes, hospitals – it has to be everywhere

Even the best designed behaviour change programme to get people to wash their hands will fail if there is nowhere to wash hands. So our work is community wide – helping to ensure that every home, school and healthcare centre has somewhere to wash hands with soap. Yet globally only around half of schools have somewhere for pupils to wash their hands with soap and water and over 40% of healthcare facilities have nowhere for doctors and nurses to wash their hands where they see patients.

5. A whole system needs to be in place

Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programmes that focus solely on providing taps, toilets and one-off trainings are unlikely to deliver lasting outcomes. To be successful, you need a whole ecosystem in place – so you need taps that keep working because the utility company is well staffed and adequately financed, you need every teacher and every school child to receive training, you need the health centre to be able to rely on always having soap available. Otherwise, it is just not possible to keep the good habits going.

6. Support, influence and work with Governments

We have learnt that by supporting and working with governments, we can be most effective and implement at scale. This means making the case as to why investing in WASH pays dividends in terms of increased health, dignity and productivity. In the face of a global pandemic, the importance of good WASH is hard to overstate and so we are working with governments to rapidly increase the provision of handwashing facilities and also supporting mass media behaviour change campaigns.

7. Research, monitor and evaluate

Our behaviour change work is based on getting to know the community context – what matters to people, what holds back people for behaviour change, what motivates them and then monitoring over time to see if the programme has been effective. Then we evaluate and make changes as needed.

8. Use the media creatively

Most of our initial COVID-19 response has been using digital, social and mass media, in order to comply with social distancing requirements. For example, in Zambia we have worked with celebrities, athletes and artists to record hygiene promotion videos that have been posted on social media platforms. In India we launched a high profile campaign using text messaging, WhatsApp groups, community radio and local TV channels. In more normal times, we also use community-based projects like performing traditional dance and theatre in Ethiopia to pass on hygiene lessons.

Meet the editor: LADbible’s Joe Elsworth on how to engage young audiences

We recently invited Joe Elsworth, Account Director at LADbible to join us for an IBT member briefing. He manages LADbible’s relationships with government and the charity sector, working on branded content partnerships across LADbible Group’s range of channels and platforms. Joe spoke to us about their social strategy, how LADbible Group has evolved from a solitary Facebook page to one of the biggest youth media publishers in the world, and how they are successfully engaging with young audiences.

Following on from their award winning campaign, Trash Isles, LADBible now work regularly with some of the biggest global brands and campaign for good causes. Over the past year they’ve worked with the Army, the Home Office, RNLI, Amnesty International and many more. Joe shared some of their most successful campaigns, why they have worked on social, and how to affect behavioural change in young people or make them feel passionately about an issue.

“Every time we post something we try to think if it’s something that we would want to talk about down the pub.”

Joe shared insights into how LADbible choose the topics and content that will appeal to their audience, and feel relevant to them. He explained that they spend a lot of time looking at the comments on videos to stay close to their audience, using their 700,000 daily comments to identify key themes and trends.


“The first 5 to 10 seconds is crucial in social video. You’re fighting against people’s thumb scrolling.”

He also share his tips for optimising video content for each social media platform, highlighting the importance of keeping on top of the latest changes in algorithms and best practices.

To finish off the session, IBT members from Practical Action, Christian Aid and ONE Campaign had an opportunity to ask questions on how they can utilise their social video platforms to better engage wider audiences.

Find out more in our ‘Meet the Editor’ interview below. Registered IBT Members can find the full briefing notes and LADbible contact information here.


Television – Who and What?

Media coverage of OFCOM’s latest CMR report was dominated by headlines such as ‘binge viewing spells end of family TV time.’  But the TV and audiovisual section of the report makes for interesting reading. It shows a growing gap between the viewing habits of older and younger audiences but the main finding is that live broadcast TV is still the first choice for most people:

The public service broadcast channels (BBC One, BBC Two, ITV/STV/UTV, Channel 4 and Channel 5) continued to retain more than half of the total broadcast TV audience in 2016, maintaining their 51% share over the past four years.

Including their portfolio channels, the PSB broadcasters accounted for more than two-thirds of viewing. The spend on UK-originated programming by the main five PSB channels was at its highest level since 2012, and more than half of the channels’ output (52%) was first-run UK-originated content in 2016.

The People in the Pictures

At the end of June, Save the Children published The People in the Pictures, an important report which looked closely at the experience of people and communities that have appeared in their communications.

The aim was to have a better understanding of how they experienced the image-making process and felt about the way in which their images were used in campaigning, fundraising and other communications. The report makes a number of recommendations, which involve greater recognition of contributors as stakeholders in the image-making process.  At the launch event, Save’s CEO, Kevin Watkins, said that they had made a number of changes to their practices to comply with the report’s recommendations.

It’s great that Save have published the findings of the report and have provided this stimulus for a sector-wide conversation.  Get the report here:


New website on Aid

The team behind the Gates-funded Aid Attitudes tracker has launched
DevCommsLab, a new website, which aims to make the findings of the tracker more
readily available and to stimulate a sector wide debate about the best ways of
building public support for aid.

This is a site for people who want to play a part in improving public engagement with global poverty. You can find insights on the site which will help you to understand audiences, encourage people to take action, and influence people’s attitudes. You can keep up with the latest research, stories about organisations using insights, and opinions on the blog.


See http://devcommslab.org/

Where in the World


On June 5th, CBeebies launched its new documentary series, Where in the World, which features children from around the world.

It’s good to see the BBC making  programmes for such a young audience that show how children in other countries lead their lives. This is something IBT has been urging the BBC to do for some time. We hope to hold an event in Parliament later in the year that looks at how children see the wider world and how the media influences children’s views.  See


Channel 4 – no privatisation

Channel 4 saved from privatisation

Karen Bradley, the Culture Secretary has announced that Channel 4 will not be privatized. This brings to an end two years of uncertainty for the channel. Privatisation was strongly opposed by IBT as we felt that it would make some key international programmes such as Channel 4 News and Unreported World vulnerable to cuts.

The Secretary of State has announced a new review to look at whether Channel 4 should relocate to Birmingham to ensure that it is less London centric as an organisation. Channel 4 is resisting the move, arguing that it would provide a serious distraction from its main task and that its actual physical location should not affect what is on the screen.

New BBC regulator

This month marks the beginning of a new era of regulation for the BBC. For the first time in its history it will have an outside regulator, Ofcom. Ofcom has published detailed proposals on how it will regulate the BBC which include a series of targets for the number of hours of news and current affairs which the BBC should produce. IBT will submit evidence to Ofcom, arguing that the regulator should also be measuring the total number of hours of international content.

In a separate development, the BBC Trust has published its own End of Charter review in which it identifies two key challenges for the future: retaining young audiences and improving BAME representation. It says that many mainstream services ‘skew white.’



Talking about Climate Change

Climate Outreach has published a practical guide to accompany the #showthelove campaign. It looks at how best to communicate with the public, particularly right of centre audiences. The guide contains useful tips on the language that is most effective with these audiences. Some of the key messages include: stress continuity not change; beware of the post Brexit landscape where people are distrusting of elites and top-down messaging; promote the simplicity of sustainability; make climate messages tangible; and be humble with claims about renewables.  

Get the full guide here

Cash in Hand

Tabloid attack on aid

The recent spate of attack pieces began with the New Year Honours list and the knighting of DFID Permanent Secretary, Mark Lowcock (Daily Mail and Express).

It continued with an attack on cash transfers, focusing mainly on the DFID programme in Pakistan (Daily Mail, Sun and Express). The most recent attack was on DFID for funding super fast broadband in Monserrat whilst many in the UK don’t have this.

There has been a strong fightback from NGOs with CEOs Mark Goldring (Oxfam) and Kevin Watkins (Save) writing think pieces, and on cash transfers many NGOs (including Mercy Corps, ActionAid, HelpAge International, Tearfund and International Rescue Committee) all highlighting areas where cash transfers work effectively and reliably. Bond is playing a leading role in coordinating the NGO response and will be holding a meeting for anyone working in campaigns, comms and media who wishes to collaborate on making the case for aid. The meeting will be held from 2-4pm on Thursday January 19th.

To find out more contact Alice Delamare, Campaigns manager at Bond  adelamare@bond.org.uk

Something New

Digital media and coverage of climate change

Last month, the Reuters Institute published new research highlighting the way in which new media has been covering climate change. The report, Something Old, Something New: Digital media and the coverage of climate change, focused on Huffington Post, BuzzFeed and Vice, and found that all three have made coverage of climate change a priority and have successfully changed the tone, style and format of coverage to attract audiences who are interested in the climate change story.


A human site

New research website on humanitarian journalism

A group of academics has set up a website to further understanding of how the news media report on humanitarian crises and what shapes coverage.

The Humanitarian Journalism project is working in partnership with a number of organisations, including IBT. The lead academics for the project are Martin Scott (UEA) who has authored several IBT reports, Mel Bunce (City) and Kate Wright (now at Edinburgh).



BBC White Paper

The Government has published its White Paper on the future of the BBC.
This confirms that the BBC will maintain its scale and scope – a key
concern of IBT’s. There will be a new emphasis on distinctiveness meaning
the BBC’s output across all platforms needs to be different from that of
its commercial competitors. The BBC has welcomed the Government’s plans
with the exception of its proposal that six of the members of the new BBC
Board will be appointed by Ministers. This Board will have within its
remit all editorial matters, although the Director General remains Editor
in Chief, and therefore the BBC and others are concerned that this will
compromise the BBC’s independence from Government.

IBT has concerns of its own. The Government has proposed changing the
BBC’s purposes which currently include a global purpose ‘to bring the
world to the UK and the UK to the world.’ This has now been dropped. A
specific commitment to the World Service remains but the commitment to
international content for UK audiences has gone. Our worry is that, as a
result of this, the range of the BBC’s international coverage will be
narrowed. There will of course be international content within news and
current affairs, but it is essential that this is balanced with other
coverage as the view of the world presented by news is inevitably quite

We will be writing to the Secretary of State and to the Director General
of the BBC to express our concerns.

We are calling on the Government and the BBC to amend the new purpose 1
which covers news and current affairs so that it is clear that the BBC has
an obligation to broadcast non news content that informs us about the
wider world.

Download IBT’s briefing on the BBC White Paper here.

If you would like to join us in taking action about this please contact
Sophie Chalk, IBT’s Head of Advocacy

Migration Media Reporting

Media reporting of migration criticised by new research report

The Ethical Journalism Network has published a new research report, Moving Stories – International Review of How Media Cover Migration, which looks at media coverage of the refugee crisis in 14 countries including the UK. The report concludes that media attention is necessary for the outside world to take note and to do something about humanitarian crises. With some neglected crises it asserts that the lack of funding is often linked to the lack of media coverage. The report documents certain trends in media coverage of refugees – there is a mix of good and bad coverage but this issue is often reported through the prism of politics. Coverage is dominated by numbers and emotions. Reporting is often simplistic with migrants seen as a threat and there is little reporting of the benefits of migration. It recommends that news organisations employ specialist reporters to cover this issue; ensure that their own staff come from diverse backgrounds; monitor their own coverage on a regular basis and have internal debates about the quality and range of their coverage. It recommends that NGOs become more skillful in their dealings with journalists.  Get the full report:


Climate Change Pitch


at the

IBT is sponsoring a pitch at the Sheffield Documentary Festival. We are offering development funding for the winning entry. We are looking for ideas that can engage the public with this challenging issue.

Climate change is one of the most important issues of our time. It has been given renewed impetus by last December’s UN talks in Paris. A global consensus has now been reached about the need for urgent action. But is the public ready for the changes that are needed to tackle the threat of climate change?

Engaging mainstream audiences with climate change is a huge creative challenge. Broadcasters are keen to give more air time to the subject, but they want filmmakers to find fresh approaches.

Sheffield Doc/Fest and IBT are inviting filmmakers to come up with their own suggestions for how climate change could be reported to appeal to a mainstream audience. The key is to find a fresh approach to this very familiar subject.

As a result of the COP21 talks in Paris, now is the time for action. IBT are asking filmmakers to focus on the next steps. What should government, business and people be doing to limit the increase in global temperatures? How can we reduce our carbon footprint? Where are the positive examples of change which can inspire us all?

IBT’s challenge to you is to suggest your own approach to this subject – and to find a story that that you think will cut through and have wide appeal.

IBT are not looking for films that tackle the subject of climate change head-on or focus on environmental issues but that look instead at aspects of life that are affected by climate change – the role of business and the energy sector, for example, or the role of consumers and changing patterns of consumption or the contribution of science and technology in achieving change. It is up to you to find an approach that you think will work.

This pitch is looking for documentary ideas that could be broadcast on television or online. This is a public pitch that will take place at Sheffield Doc/Fest 10 – 15 June 2016.

There are no restrictions on who can apply. All applicants are eligible.

IBT will be offering £4,000 in development funding to the winning pitch. The shortlisted entrants will receive training in pitching their project and the winner will be announced at Sheffield Doc/Fest.

The closing date for applications is March 31st 2016. To download an application form go to:



IBT expresses concern about the future of Channel 4

We have written to a number of newspapers to express concern about the future of Channel 4.

The Government has confirmed that it is considering privatization. Our understanding is that this is being driven by DCMS, not the Treasury, and the motivation is ideological rather than to raise revenue. A decision will be announced early next year.

If the Government does go ahead, it will need to introduce primary legislation and the proposal is likely to be scrutinized by the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee. We are opposed to the privatization of Channel 4 because we believe it will mean that certain programmes will suffer as money is diverted from the programme budget to shareholders.

Lord Burns, the Channel 4 Chair and former Treasury mandarin, confirmed this week that if privatisation goes ahead, Channel 4 News is unlikely to survive in its present form.

Political opposition is growing, so please mention the issue in any conversations you have with parliamentarians. If you would like a full briefing on the threat to Channel 4, contact Sophie Chalk, our head of advocacy, who is leading on this for IBT – sophie.chalk@btinternet.com

New money for the World Service

As part of the recent Defence Review, the Government announced a big increase in funding for the World Service.

It will receive an extra £85m a year from 2017-20. In effect, this means that the present budget for the World Service will be ring fenced and will not be cut disproportionately when the new licence fee comes in.

The extra money will be spent across the board – with enhanced TV services for Africa, new radio and digital services for Ethiopia and Eritrea, additional language services for Nigeria and India, new radio services for North Korea and enhanced digital and TV services in Russian.

This expansion will help the World Service move towards its goal of reaching an audience of 500 million people weekly by 2022. It will also help the BBC to respond to the challenge posed by growing investment in other global news services such as CCTV and RT.

BBC Latest


Last month (October) IBT gave evidence to the House of Lords Communications Committee on its inquiry into the future of the BBC.

In a special session looking at the BBC’s international coverage, Sophie Chalk, our Head of Advocacy, spoke about the important contribution that the BBC makes to our understanding of the wider world – through news and other genres including current affairs, documentaries, drama and entertainment.

You can watch the evidence session right here.

BBC Charter

We are encouraging IBT members to respond to the Government’s Green paper on the future of the BBC.

We have drawn up a short submission which you can adapt and use as the basis for your response to the Green paper. IBT will also be responding with a more detailed submission. However, we have been told by officials at DCMS that several responses on a topic will have greater impact than just one response.

Here is a link to our draft submission for IBT members.

If you have any queries or would like further information please contact IBT’s Head of Campaigns:


Reframing Climate Change

Watch our Sheffield Documentary Festival session online!

IBT hosted a session at the Sheffield Documentary Festival to discuss how tv could improve its coverage of climate change.

We heard from commissioning editors at the BBC and Channel 4, a climate scientist and an academic – with the active participation of an audience of producers and filmmakers. You can now watch the session right here.


New BBC Charter

The debate about the future of the BBC has moved forward with the Government’s publication last month of its Green Paper. This is a consultation document which asks a number of questions about the size and scope of the BBC and its governance. There is now a public consultation to which IBT will be submitting evidence. The deadline for submissions is October 8th. We will be arguing that in order to fulfil the global purpose, of bringing the world to the UK, the BBC need to have the sort of scale and scope which it currently has. However, with the licence fee settlement having already taken place in the run up to the Budget, it’s clear that the BBC faces further cuts in the years ahead. A copy of the Green Paper can be found here:


BBC Future

Over the next few months, IBT will be lobbying over the future of the BBC whose Charter expires at the end of 2016. The current licence fee settlement expires early in 2017.We will be arguing that the BBC needs to be properly funded in order to continue to contribute effectively to UK society. Its budget has been reduced considerably in recent years whilst it has been asked to deliver more services. The BBC’s critics will be arguing for further cuts which could have major consequences for all of us.

The BBC’s international coverage plays an important role, on tv, radio and online, in informing people in the UK about global issues. We are concerned that some of this coverage is under threat. We will be preparing a briefing for IBT members. If you’d like to support this strand of work, please get in touch with Sophie, our head of campaigns sophie.chalk@btinternet.com

Broadcast magazine, which covers the television industry, has launched an online campaign to support the BBC, asking everyone to sign a statement of support.  You can sign the pledge here:  http://www.broadcastnow.co.uk/SPIN2.aspx?navCode=5535

You can follow the campaign on Twitter using the hashtag #BackingTheBBC

Sheffield DocFest

Reframing Climate Change at Sheffield DocFest

If you are planning to go to the Sheffield Documentary Festival, please look out for our two sessions which both take place on Tuesday June 9th. The first is a panel debate on the theme of Reframing Climate Change with speakers from the BBC, Channel 4, the British Antarctic Survey and the Open University. More details here:https://sheffdocfest.com/events/4173

The second session will feature 5 filmmakers pitching their documentary proposal to a panel of commissioning editors from Sky, Discovery and Channel 4. The best idea will win development funding. More here: https://sheffdocfest.com/events/4179


HIV and stigma – latest

Last month we hosted a round table discussion to explore the opportunities for the media to play a bigger role in helping to tackle HIV related stigma. It was an impressive group, with representatives from the drugs companies and funders including the Global Fund, Comic Relief, the Elton John AIDS Foundation and Rush. Victoria Macdonald, health correspondent on Channel 4 News, was in the chair. Special thanks to Solenn Honorine from MSF who travelled from South Africa to take part. There was general agreement that stigma does exist and remains a major barrier – but there was no appetite for a mass media campaign challenging stigma. The preferred route was more targeted use of media, particularly community media, with a focus on access to treatment – getting more people tested and onto medication. The funders said they would welcome funding applications with more of a focus on media which they felt was often lacking from the HIV proposals that they usually received. There was agreement that IBT could play a role in working in partnership with NGOs to improve the media element of their funding applications. Further details of the discussion can be obtained from Sophie Chalk:   sophie.chalk@btinternet.com

Reframing Climate Change

IBT has launched an open competition in association with the Sheffield Documentary Festival to find the best idea for a tv programme that helps to reframe climate change. Five entries will be shortlisted and producers will be given the opportunity to pitch their idea before an audience at Sheffield.

A panel of commissioners at the Sheffield Documentary Festival will select the best idea which will be awarded development funding of £4,000.  The closing date for applications is Thursday April 16th.

Further details and an application form can be found on the Sheffield DocFest website:



The Future of News

The BBC’s Director of News and former Times editor, James Harding, has launched a new report called The Future of News, which looks at the way in which news consumption is changing. This is the first step in the BBC rethinking its role as a news provider.

The report is a useful reminder that tv news is still the main source of news for most people in the UK – but its reach is significantly higher amongst older people than younger audiences (92% v 52%). Harding’s conclusion is that there is a growing information gap between older, richer, well informed audiences and poorer, younger, ethnic minority, less well informed audiences. The internet, Harding argues, is not keeping everyone informed – it is magnifying problems of information inequality, misinformation, polarization and disengagement.

The report also notes that BBC News needs to ‘broaden the tone of what we do.’ This follows criticism – from IBT and others – that the range of stories and voices is narrowing.

Read More from the BBC


The provision and consumption of online news

As part of the news review, the BBC asked independent consultants Mediatique, to analyse where a range of audiences go for their news consumption. If you want to understand the changing news landscape this is a useful report, rich in detail.   It’s great that the BBC is making this publicly available.

The report looks at where online audiences go to find their news and BBC News comes out top (47%), followed by Mail Online (14%); Sky News (12%); Guardian (9%); HuffPo (9%) and Daily Telegraph (6%). Smaller news sites like Vice and Buzzfeed are growing rapidly. BBC News is the most trusted news source with ITV News coming second.

The report also reveals the growing  role played by Google, Twitter and Facebook as news gatekeepers. Asked how they discover news online, 45% said they go to known brands; 29% said they use search engines; 17% said they follow links posted on social media.

Download the full Report here


IBT annual dinner for CEOs

Given the success of last year’s annual dinner for CEOs, we are now making plans for this year’s. We’re delighted that Tony Hall, the BBC’s Director General, has accepted our invitation to speak at the dinner, which will take place in the Autumn.

This is perfect timing for us, as the next BBC Charter will be under discussion by then, and we are keen to see the BBC’s commitment to ‘bringing the world to the UK’ (in the words of the present Charter) maintained and strengthened. IBT was instrumental in the inclusion of this as one of the BBC’s key purposes last time round.


The Lobbying Act

There’s growing concern amongst NGOs about what exactly can be said and what can’t be said in online communications, in light of the new Lobbying Act.  In this short briefing note, we offer clear guidance for ways of ensuring that online campaigns comply with the restrictions placed on charities by the new legislation.

The briefing recommends that all NGOs review their social media campaigning activities on a regular basis even if they decide not to register under the Act. All staff should be provided with social media guidelines and a named person within the organisation to contact for advice.

Get this Briefing

Reframing climate change

This year, we will be expanding our Reframing Climate Change project. So far, we have held events with producers and broadcasters to stimulate new thinking about how television reports on this issue.

We’ve brought together groups of producers and commissioning editors (from Channel 4 and BBC Storyville) to hear from a range of experts involved in climate science, technology, business, design and architecture. Later this year, we hope to hold similar events with Sky, BBC Science and Natural History and Channel 5. We’ll also be launching a new film competition in partnership with Sheffield DocFest in June.

For more information about our Reframing Climate Change project, contact
Mark Galloway, IBT Director – mark@ibt.org.uk


Climate change – what do young people think?


The Climate Outreach and Information Network (COIN) has published a new report documenting what young people think about climate change. The Young Voices report interviewed 18-25 year olds and concludes that present engagement strategies are failing with young people. It proposes – and tests – new climate change narratives aimed specifically at this age group.  Go to their website for the report.

BBC Trust gives its verdict – on the BBC!

The BBC Trust has published the findings of its review of BBC television – to which IBT submitted evidence. The verdict on BBC1, 2, 3 and 4 is broadly positive. All four channels are distinctive and well regarded by audiences. However, the Trust noted that BBC1 has a tendency to play safe and needs to take more risks. The Trust also said that the tv channels need to make more effort to reach younger and more diverse audiences. Interestingly, the Trust’s verdict on BBC3 was very positive, given that there are plans to turn BBC3 into an online only channel (although these plans are yet to be approved by the Trust).

Media for Development

BBC Media Action has published a new briefing that examines how the media for development sector is addressing the need to produce evidence of its impact. The paper notes that the sector does not have a long history of research or evaluation so presenting evidence of impact can be challenging. The briefing concludes that ‘media for development interventions often do not produce rapid, readily measurable and easily monetisable outcomes. The social change which media for development aims to make is more incremental, less tangible and often not fixed.’ This is an issue which we also consider in our forthcoming report HIV and stigma – the media challenge.

The World Service

From April 1st, the World Service moves from Foreign Office to licence fee funding. The BBC has guaranteed that there will be no overall cut to the World Service budget between now and the end of the present licence fee settlement, in December 2016. There will also be a small additional innovation fund to enable the service to expand its digital activities. Yesterday, the Foreign Affairs Select Committee published a report on the future of the World Service, in which it expressed concern about long term funding and the fact that the World Service will be competing for funds with BBC1 and other domestic tv channels.

Making sense of the global economy

Download the full Report

On the 3rd December 2013, Channel 4 co-hosted a round table discussion, chaired by Michael Crick.  It was an enlightening discussion that looked at ways of broadening economics coverage to include a wider range of voices, including those dissenting from the consensus view that economic growth is good per se, and also the need to reflect more effectively connections between actions we take in the UK and their impacts around the world. We’ll be continuing with this project in 2014.


Michael Crick, Political Correspondent, Channel 4 News (Chair)

Paul Mason, Culture and Digital Editor, Channel 4 News (Speaker)

Professor Jan Aart Scholte, University of Warwick

Dorothy Byrne, Head of News and Current Affairs, Channel 4

Paul Cook, Advocacy Director, Tearfund

Ed Conway, Economics Editor, Sky News

Martyn Evans, Chief Executive, Carnegie UK Trust

Nick Faith, Director of Communications, Policy Exchange

Raul Kharbanda, Head of Research and Consumer Insight, UKTI

Melanie Leech, Trustee Carnegie UK Trust, Director General Food and Drink Federation

Richard Miller, Executive Director, Action Aid UK

Loretta Minghella, Chief Executive, Christian Aid

Andrew Simms. New Economics Foundation

Dr Damien Tambini, Research Director, LSE

Linda Yueh, Chief Business Correspondent, BBC

Jon Zilkha, Head of Economics and Business Unit, BBC


In Attendance

Sophie Chalk, International Broadcasting Trust

Mark Galloway, International Broadcasting Trust

Douglas White, Carnegie UK Trust

Asha Tharoor, One


This joint event was organised by the International Broadcasting Trust (IBT) and the Carnegie UK Trust (CUKT). Both organisations have an interest in the UK public being engaged with issues about globalisation and economics. IBT is a media and education charity with over 40 members, including most of the UK’s main aid and development, environment and human rights organisations. It has worked for over 30 years to increase the impact and reach of international broadcasting content. CUKT seeks to improve the lives and wellbeing of people throughout the UK and Ireland through influencing public policy and demonstrating innovative practice. In 2012 the Trust published ‘Global Rules, Local Rulers’, an analysis of how connected UK citizens feel they are to international institutions that regulate trade and economic activity.


The aim of the roundtable debate was to examine whether UK television coverage of the global economy is successful in engaging with the public and ask whether there are things that can be done to engage the public more. The debate began with brief opening remarks from Paul Mason of Channel 4 News before an open discussion, chaired by Michael Crick, also of Channel 4. This discussion covered a wide range of different issues, which can broadly be categorised the under the following headings:

  • Economics is complex – the search for a narrative
  • Citizens and journalists need more economics education
  • Understanding audiences
  • The need for alternative voices
  • Solutions

This note provides a summary of the main points raised by participants in relation to each of these issues.

BBC Charter Renewal

This effectively kicks off the public debate about the next BBC Charter.

The current Charter ends in December 2016. So we face almost three years of debate about the future of the BBC. IBT will be submitting evidence to the Select Committee. Please let us know if you have any views you’d like us to include.


The central argument will be about the optimum size of the BBC. Do we want the BBC as it is, with a licence fee of £145 a year, or do we want a much smaller BBC at less cost?  The BBC Director General Tony Hall has begun to address this issue in his public statements. It’s IBT’s view that the size of the BBC is one of its great strengths and, as Tony Hall reminded the audience at a recent VLV event, the BBC is no longer the biggest broadcasting organisation in the UK (that’s Sky) and nor is the BBC the global player it once was (it’s dwarfed for example by CCTV).