The Maleficent star will work with the BBC World Service to produce Our World to promote global media literacy. It will initially roll out as a ten episode run of half hour episodes in 2019. The series will be aimed at children aged seven to 12 and will initially produced in English but the BBC will seek production partners to expand programming into multiple languages. The project aims to be truly global in scope, engaging children from Argentina to Zimbabwe.
The BBC is in talks with a number of international digital and broadcast media organizations interested in co-production and distribution. The pilot TV programmes will be distributed via the World Service’s existing TV partnerships and via other suitable broadcasters internationally.
Jolie, who is a special envoy to the UN Refugee Agency, was the guest editor of the BBC’s flagship radio programme Today on Friday. She hinted during an interview that she may go into politics.
Speaking of Our World, she said, “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.
“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.”
BBC World Service Director Jamie Angus added, “The internet is a democratizing force. It gives voice to the voiceless. But the downside is that it enables some of the worst conspiracy theories to spread. According to a U.S. survey from last year, over a six-month period, 59 percent of 10-18 year-olds had shared a story that they either subsequently found to be inaccurate or were now uncertain as to its veracity.
“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 organization? Are they just telling one side of the story? Is there another view?”