Free To Speak (on BBC World Service)

[Slight changes below, after a second look at the project…]

For me, the 2002 series I Have A Right To… still represents a good benchmark for how the BBC’s World Service can knit together human rights resources of real and lasting value – and that others can use and build on.

Now, the World Service is celebrating its 75th Anniversary with a season of programmes, debates and chunks of participation related to freedom of speech, in an upcoming season called Free To Speak [thanks, Solana].

As usual, no one does global broadcasting quite like the World Service, with Roy Greenslade fronting a four-part radio series on the freedom of the press, for example, but the online experience feels pretty disjointed by comparison. There are elements in the online parts of the season that hold useful nuggets, however:

– A timeline of the history of broadcasting, including “media minutes” for each year, and which at the time of writing stretches up to the 1970s. There’s a lot of conflict, a lot of politics, and perhaps a bit too much of the presenter, and not enough of the actual audio, but it’s still of value, as this audio clip from 1965 shows, attesting to the power of the televised image in galvanizing the civil rights struggle in the USA…

– A selection of six conflict-related images from Magnum Photos (a Hub participant) from an exhibition at Bush House, the central London building where BBC World Service is housed…

– Photographs sent in by people holding their favourite political protest slogans… [all seemingly outside Bush House..]

– And a request for people to contribute their stories of freedom of speech to the MemoryShare timeline…

Care to point us to any current (and more effective) examples of this kind of online initiative from local media around the world?

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