The new People’s Choice award in this year’s AIBs is very exciting for a number of reasons. It is the first time we are asking the general public to vote for awards, which allows the shortlisted entrants to gain a wider exposure for their programmes, as viewers will come from throughout the world, including many countries where the programmes are not currently broadcast. The voting process will also use social media to gain interest and attention, providing another example of the sort of audience engagement and participation which is becoming more and more important to broadcasting in the 21st century.
In addition climate change, the subject of programmes in the People’s Choice award, is a highly topical subject which provokes fierce debate and raises issues which could have a dramatic impact on the way that all nations live. Different countries, and even different tribes and regions within countries, risk being affected in different ways. For example, the indigenous people of the Amazon risk their lands turning into dry savanna (see here for how our sponsor, ADB, is helping the Surui tribe) while the coastal regions risk more flooding.
Because of the differing risks, as well as different political viewpoints, the range of views on climate change is enormous and the challenges of exploring and explaining the science are great. We hear about the fierce debates in the US Senate ; India and China are signing up to the Copenhagen accord; a survey in Africa shows that many Africans blame God and not global emissions for climate change; countries as diverse as Mongolia, Saudi Arabia and Madagascar show increasing awareness by joining in Earth Day celebrations.
We are eager to see the submissions for the People’s Choice award to see how broadcasters from throughout the world are tackling this contraversial issue which raises such passion and which is so important to all of our futures.