Freedom 2014

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Episodes

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Selin Girit looks at Turkey’s anti-terror laws, which have been used to jail dozens of...

Selin Girit looks at Turkey’s anti-terror laws, which have been used to jail dozens of journalists over the last six months.

20140304

Ingrid Betancourt, who was held captive for six years, explores how people’s minds can...

Ingrid Betancourt, who was held captive for six years, explores how people’s minds can be free even while they are in captivity.

20140312

With regulation of newspapers planned, Steve Hewlett and a panel of international edito...

With regulation of newspapers planned, Steve Hewlett and a panel of international editors ask: how free is the UK press?

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Catherine Carr examines the journies people are making - as a portal into their lives - by asking "Where are you going?"

An investigation into the television channels accused of spreading religious intolerance in the Middle East.

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Will Grant travels to Tucson, Arizona to trace the families of illegal migrants who hav...

Ros Atkins considers the entrenched social and cultural attitudes that stand in the way...

Ros Atkins considers the entrenched social and cultural attitudes that stand in the way of women achieving equality with men.

Will Grant travels to Tucson, Arizona to trace the families of illegal migrants who have dropped dead in the Arizona desert.

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Will Grant travels to Tucson, Arizona to trace the families of illegal migrants who hav...

Will Grant travels to Tucson, Arizona to trace the families of illegal migrants who have dropped dead in the Arizona desert.

Mark Mardell presents three unexpected stories about the how guns figure in American cu...

Mark Mardell presents three unexpected stories about the how guns figure in American culture.

A Taste Of Freedom20140402

Highlights of the Freedom 2014 season on the BBC World Service, with moving stories and.

Highlights of the Freedom 2014 season on the BBC World Service, with moving stories and testimonies from people around the world

China In Vogue2014031120140316 (WS)

China’s Vogue, along with Cosmopolitan, Elle and other high-end fashion magazines, has a large and growing readership in China. When magazines like Vogue start up in a country, it means that there’s an emerging market ready for a new level of lifestyle – as was the case in China in 2005.

On its first print run of 300,000, Vogue China sold out on the first morning. Today, Victoria Beckham appears on the cover and it's seen as the ultimate authority on style and luxury, teaching China's budding fashionistas about a world utterly inaccessible to them only a generation ago.

The Chinese are learning quickly – for in the pages of China's magazines, amongst the familiar names of Armani, Gucci and Prada, you'll also find a growing number of home-grown brands, such as Vega Zaishi Wang, who are challenging the stereotypes of the 'Made in China' label.

As part of the BBC’s Freedom 2014 season, journalist Jessie Levene who lived in China for three years, returns to tell the story of the rise of China's magazine culture, its link to consumerism, and the changing face of Chinese fashion. Jessie speaks to editors, photographers, designers and cultural commentators to build up a picture of how Chinese women are thinking both globally and locally as they create a new Chinese female identity.

Interviewees include Angelica Cheung - Editor of China Vogue, Vega Zaishi Wang - fashion designer, Isabelle Pascal, founder and proprietor of Wuhao Concept Store which aims to showcase Chinese designers.

(Photo: Designs from China Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2014. Credit: Feng Li/Getty Images)

China's Global Popstars20140128

Meet Ruhan Jia, one of the young hopefuls in the world of state-manufactured pop

After decades of being closed off to western pop culture, the pressure is on for China to find a state-endorsed popstar, a fun and cool ambassador who can command the global stage.

Rebecca Kanthor heads inside China’s pop machine, the ‘Earth’s Music Project’, to meet Ruhan Jia - one of the first artists to be actively promoted by the government, and those tasked with transforming her into a global sensation.

In makeshift studios across China, she hears from Ruhan’s rock rivals, who are also hoping to get noticed - with or without support from the state.

Raising questions of identity, ambition and freedom, Rebecca investigates the dizzying world of state-sponsored pop, and the power of pop culture.

Presenter: Rebecca Kanthor

Producer: Georgia Catt

Picture: Ruhan Jia in rehearsal

Rebeccca Kanthor joins China’s quest for a state-approved global pop star.

Designing A Dream2014030820140309 (WS)

Two women - one rich, one poor - navigating their way through the global fashion industry

This is the story of two women, one rich, one poor, as they navigate their way through the global fashion industry.

One is a wealthy textile manufacturer from Bangladesh, who employs 11,000 garment workers. The other is a young Cambodian girl who grew up on a garbage dump in Phnom Penh. Five years ago she could neither read nor write. Now she is turning into a charismatic role model for the kids who still live on the dump and is dreaming of becoming a fashion designer. Rubana Huq and Sreymom Ang come from dramatically different backgrounds, but they have one thing in common – their love of fashion.

The pair met in London last November at the BBC’s 100 Women event, which brought together dynamic women from across the world. Rubana, the textile magnate, was gripped by Sreymom’s determination to establish herself as a fashion designer. She travels to Cambodia to discover where she came from and then the pair return together to Bangladesh, accompanied by reporter Ilona Vinogradova. Along the way, they learn together about living and working conditions in both countries and what it takes to establish oneself in the fast-moving cut-throat world of international fashion.

Can Sreymom realise her dreams? What will Rubana discover about herself and her own motives? Whose life is just about to change once and for all?

(Photo: Sreymom Ang (left) aand Rubana Huq)

Freedom Day20140401

Catching up on Freedom Day Social Media

Freedom Of The Mind2014030420140309 (WS)
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Ingrid Betancourt explores how people’s minds can be free while they are in captivity

Ingrid Betancourt was held captive by the infamous FARC rebels in Colombia and endured six years as a hostage in the jungle - sometimes chained by her neck to a tree. Betancourt, who had been kidnapped while standing for the presidential election, was subjected to extreme deprivation. She was repeatedly mocked and humiliated, both by her captors and fellow captives. Yet she survived and not least because she was determined to hang on to her identity.

Through Ingrid’s story and the stories of others, Freedom of the Mind explores how the mind reacts to enforced captivity. She talks to people who have been held in isolation for long periods, but who managed to find an escape within the boundless worlds of their own imaginations.

Can the mind be free even though the body is trapped, held captive and forced to live through terrible hardship?

(Photo: French-Colombian former FARC hostage Ingrid Betancourt. Credit: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)

Freedom To Be Single2014030820140309 (WS)

Widowed, divorced or single by choice - the discrimination faced by single women in India

India is a free country - the world's biggest democracy. But millions of its women might argue that this political liberty does not guarantee them the freedom to live as they would like or need. For in India, an unmarried woman can find herself denied even the most basic rights.

In this programme - part of the BBC’s Freedom 2014 season examining how free we are around the world today - Delhi-based journalist Rupa Jha leaves her husband and daughter behind for a week to meet fellow Indian women who choose to be, or are forced to be, single. She comes face-to-face with a story of coercion, prejudice and neglect that is both shocking and moving. A wealthy professional young woman finds herself under more pressure to marry with each passing year. Rented apartments are routinely denied to single females lest they turn out to be prostitutes. There are divorces which can take literally decades to achieve, and women abandoned by their husbands, living in penury. Worst of all are the widows whose pains are made even more intolerable by subsequent ostracism and cruel treatment.

This is a story about an India which is changing fast thanks to globalisation and rapid economic growth. More women live in cities and may seek to live outside traditional family structures. More couples choose to separate due to the stresses of modern life. Yet it is also a story about the reactionary attitudes, narrow-mindedness and sometimes outright misogyny that obstruct such women's choices.

"I feel ashamed" says Rupa. "Some of the hardest truths to face are the ones closest to home."

(Photo: Surichi Shama, who is 28 and single)

Freedom To Broadcast Hate2014031520140316 (WS)

As the Middle East continues to be torn by war, sectarian violence and a backlash against the Arab Spring, the BBC World Service investigates the television channels that are accused of spreading hatred and intolerance.

Since the beginning of the Arab Spring in early 2011, the Middle East has experienced a proliferation of new TV channels keen to spread religious and political messages to audiences. There are new media stars – TV evangelists and religious leaders. But there is also a darker side – some of what is broadcast has been described as openly sectarian, provocative and even blasphemous.

In Freedom to Broadcaste Hate, the BBC visits two countries where this kind of broadcasting proliferates – Iraq and Egypt - and tries to uncover the reasons for it, and the possible consequences.

Guantanamo Voices2014022520140302 (WS)

The US military prison at Guantanamo Bay is arguably the world’s most famous and most controversial detention facility. Eight hundred citizens from 48 countries were detained there, most of them from Afghanistan. The prison was established to hold persons classified as “enemy combatants" by the Bush administration in January 2002 following the US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

Since then, there have been calls for the closure of the detention camp. Many US officials accept that the camp's existence has tarnished the US’s reputation as a beacon of freedom. President Obama has pledged to close Guantanamo saying that it hurts America’s “international standing”. Although most of the prisoners have now been released or sent to other countries, more than 150 prisoners are still held there.

As the US-led NATO’s combat mission in Afghanistan ends in 2014, the BBC’s Dawood Azami assesses the damage Guantanamo did to the US’s international reputation by visiting Guantanamo prison and talking to ex-Guantanamo detainees in Pakistan and Afghanistan about freedom and the way the prison changed their lives and thinking.

Dawood Azami asks former Guantanamo detainees in Afghanistan and Pakistan how the priso...

Dawood Azami asks former Guantanamo detainees in Afghanistan and Pakistan how the prison changed their lives.

Thailand’s Slave Fishermen2014012520140126 (WS)

Modern day slavery on Thailand’s fishing boats

It has one of the largest fishing fleets in the world and much of the catch from Thailand’s fishing boats ends up on Japanese, European and American plates. Yet the industry stands accused of profiting from slave labour.

As part of the BBC’s Freedom 2014 season, Becky Palmstrom investigates this tale of modern day slavery. She travels to Thailand and Burma (also known as Myanmar), to find out why and how illegal migrants are being forced onto Thai fishing boats, many of them working for months unpaid. She hears allegations of cruelty and even murder.

In Thailand, Becky meets Ken, from rural Burma, who hoped to make a better life for himself and his ageing parents. He ended up being trafficked twice onto Thai fishing boats. The first time conditions were so bad that he preferred to risk his life jumping overboard and swimming for six hours before reaching shore. The second time, having been promised a job in a pineapple processing factory, he once again ended up on a fishing boat but he and the rest of the Burmese crew were rescued by a non-governmental organisation and a special branch of the Thai police.

The BBC team was able to bring his parents, back in Burma, the first news they had had of their son for four years. The Thai authorities admit that most of their fishing fleet is unregistered and much of it relies on illegal migrant labour. A lot of that labour is trafficked from Burma and Cambodia. Under pressure – particularly from the US State Department – to improve its record on human trafficking, the Thai government insists it is now making every effort to clamp down on trafficking and forced labour in its fishing industry. The BBC team is taken on a “raid” of fishing boats by the Thai Marine Police. It also hears disturbing stories from Burmese crewmen on Thai fishing boats, from captains and boat owners, indicating there is a long way to go before consumers can be certain the fish they eat has not been caught by slaves.

Thailand’s Slave Fishermen is the first documentary in the Freedom 2014 season on the World Service, running from January-April 2014 - a season of hard-hitting investigative work looking at the state of freedom today all over the world.

As part of the BBC’s Freedom 2014 season, Becky Palmstrom investigates a tale of modern...

As part of the BBC’s Freedom 2014 season, Becky Palmstrom investigates a tale of modern day slavery on Thailand’s fishing boats.

Where Are You Going?2014031520140316 (WS)

Catherine Carr charts the course of one day in the lives of many people, making many different- journeys across the globe. A lone man on a train platform, a married couple nervously watching the clock in the waiting room, a nun with a long distance ticket, an exhausted family heading to London at dawn - where are they going and where will the story of their journey lead the listener?

The first half of the programme charts the hours from dawn until noon - the second half will lead the listener though the afternoon to sunset. Moments will be snatched, secrets shared and life-stories shared, as Catherine Carr meets and speaks to these people and asks them “Where are you going?”