BBC News presenters share coronavirus message in South Asian languages for BBC Asian Network campaign


BBC News presenters of South Asian origin have united in a campaign to promote work by the BBC Asian Network, which shares vital coronavirus advice in language for the British Asian community.

As data shows coronavirus is having a disproportionate impact on Black, Asian and other ethnic minority groups, BBC Asian Network is working hard to make sure UK public health messages are getting through to British Asian communities, in seven South Asian languages.

In a video shared on social media, BBC News journalists including Reeta Chakrabarti, Mishal Husain and Sima Kotecha, explain how BBC Asian Network has created a series of messages in seven different South Asian languages, explaining what Covid-19 is and how people can protect themselves.

In a bid to tackle the spread of misinformation during the coronavirus crisis, and help public health messages reach as wide an audience as possible, BBC Asian Network has worked with British Asian doctors to publish videos with important advice in these seven South Asian languages.

The seven different languages spoken in the video by BBC News presenters are:

· Sylheti – Qasa Alom, BBC Asian Network
· Gujarati – Sima Kotecha, BBC News
· Punjabi – Tina Daheley, BBC News
· Hindi – Yogita Limaye, BBC News India Correspondent
· Bangla – Reeta Chakrabarti, BBC News at Six and Ten
· Tamil – Sangeetha Rajan, BBC News Tamil Service
· Urdu – Mishal Husain, BBC Radio 4 Today Programme

BBC News reporter Sima Kotecha, who has recently returned from Rome where she was covering the coronavirus pandemic, said, “We are keen to ensure we communicate with as wide an audience as possible and reach communities who need to hear this advice which will protect their health. Now more than ever, it’s especially crucial as these messages could potentially be life-saving for those most vulnerable to coronavirus.”

BBC Asian Network’s Head of News Arif Ansari said, “We normally work purely in English for a UK audience. However, we realised that the government advice is not always available in other languages so we felt there was something we could do to help get those key public health messages across to people in our community.

“We hope with the help of our colleagues across the BBC, we can make the BBC Asian Network coronavirus advice videos go even further.

“Many younger people who listen to Asian Network tell us they have been playing the videos to older relatives so it’s great to hear we are providing a valuable service to British Asians at this difficult and confusing time.”

BBC Asian Network has published more videos on its Twitter and Facebook accounts with a focus on health, coronavirus and looking after yourself during Ramadan.

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