Jolie is taking on the role of executive producer for a new BBC series aiming to promote global media literacy, with a focus on children specifically. The weekly ‘current affairs’ program titled “BBC My World” is aimed at kids aged 7-12. This is because most kids start having an awareness of the news at around seven years of age and begin signing up to social media channels at age twelve, on average and according to the BBC’s research. The program strives to instill an informed awareness in children of this vulnerable and dangerously agreeable age range of how news stories are spun and portrayed, encouraging them the value of questioning things and developing critical thinking skills for themselves in order to rationally evaluate what they are consuming.
“There has never been a time when it was more important to introduce the next generation to objective, impartial news and factual explanation of the events and issues shaping our world. Children today are exposed to a lot of opinion, but not necessarily to information that is fact-based and reliable.” Jolie states. BBC World Service Group Director Jamie Angus shares “No parent can completely isolate their child from fake news. But what we can do is give kids the tools to distinguish the genuine from the false and encourage them to develop critical thinking — to ask themselves: who produced the video and why? Are they a reputable organisation? Are they just telling one side of the story? Is there another view?”
“There’s a gap in provision for young people who want to understand how the news is made and the values that stand behind it. They need the tools to distinguish the real from the false online, and the skills to think critically about information, wherever they encounter it. Nurturing these abilities is the aim of My World, and they’re crucial for today’s young people, not just for personal development but the future health of global democracy. The BBC World Service is uniquely placed to provide a truly global perspective on the biggest stories and themes of the day.” Angus elaborates.
The ten-episode show will air every Sunday afternoon on the BBC’s most-watched channel, BBC World News. The series will also have additional digital elements like digital learning segments and lesson plans through Microsoft Education, intended as a resource for global educators around the world, aiding in the teaching of media literacy in schools everywhere. The BBC is aiming to make the content available in 42 different languages but remains only in English for now. BBC My World will be co-anchored by BBC presenters Nomia Iqbal and Radzi Chinyanganya.
Jolie went onto say “As a mother, I am very pleased that the BBC World Service is taking this step. It is also important to me that the project is global, and will help young people in different countries to be connected to each other and to have greater awareness and understanding of the news on an international basis.” The series will later be made available to watch on YouTube.
This is not the first time the actress and mother-of-six has used her celebrity platform to advocate for political and socially conscious causes. As a U.N. special envoy, Jolie teamed up with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees last year, where she urged nations to deploy more women peacekeepers in an effort to prevent sexual violence against refugees. “I try to speak for what I believe in. We have to change laws that treat women as second-class citizens”, Jolie said in a statement. “If you look across the world, there are far too many women and girls who are not only not seeing progress, their rights are slipping away from them,” she went onto say. Jolie spent over ten years funding schools for girls from Afghanistan to Kenya to Cambodia.
Jolie has also taken on projects that carry more political resonance, having directed and produced films based on important, true stories of a distressing nature, such as World War II movie Unbroken and the Cambodia-based drama First They Killed My Father.
We hope this groundbreaking series helps children worldwide to debunk false truths, gain the confidence to fairly assess the state of our ever-changing world and help plant firm beliefs in their own convictions.