×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Gordon Brown Touts UN’s TV Links at Cannes’ MipTV Market

CANNES — Former U.K. prime minister Gordon Brown will be at the MipTV market Wednesday to tubthump for the UN’s Global Education First Initiative. He spoke to Variety about the role he hopes the TV biz can play in promoting the right to education.

Brown, the UN’s special envoy for global education, is hoping to raise awareness of TV execs here about the issue. “(I’d like them) to recognize that the fight for girls’ education around the world is one of the great civil rights issues of our time, and that we’ve now seen girls in countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and parts of Africa demanding that they have a right to education. And yet there are 32 million girls not at school, and I hope television will cover these issues,” he told Variety Monday.

He will be joined in Cannes by Ziauddin Yousafzai, the father of Pakistani schoolgirl Malala, who was shot by the Taliban for speaking out against their attempts to stop girls from attending school.

Brown says that TV news shows, documentaries, telefilms and TV dramas can promote girls’ right to an education. For example, he says that the story of Malala’s life, which she is writing as a book, may at some stage be made into a film or a TV drama. “Through film and through drama we can portray the struggle that people are having just to get their basic rights,” he said, comparing this issue to the civil rights campaigns in 1960s America.

Brown acknowledges that television covers natural disasters and health crises well, but says it could also help to break the cycle of poverty by promoting education and literacy. “We are not very good at showing people what a difference just giving people the basic right to education can make, and why in some countries the denial of the right to education is a matter of life and death, such as when people are shot, or firebombed or attacked, or murdered in some cases, as we have seen in Pakistan, simply for demanding for the right of girls to go to school,” he said.

His attendance at MipTV is in part recognition that television can achieve things that politics can’t. “We will be highlighting that TV can help with the curriculum, the training of teachers and making people far more aware of what needs to be done,” he said.

“Small things can make a huge difference,” he added, citing a campaign in India to persuade broadcasters to subtitle some TV shows, which has been proven to aid literacy. A film will be shown at the MipTV UN event portraying this campaign.

He said that he would also like television companies to support the establishment of a global hotline where anyone can tell stories of human rights abuses, such as child trafficking and forced marriage of children.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • TV Ratings: 'Dancing With the Stars'

    TV Ratings: 'Dancing With the Stars' Premiere Flat on Last Season

    Casting Sean Spicer on “Dancing With the Stars” doesn’t seem to be having the desired effect on ratings for ABC. The show premiered its new season to a 1.0 rating and just under 8 million total viewers. That’s the same rating as the Fall 2018 season premiere which was watched by 7.7 million viewers. The [...]

  • Inside Tinder's User-Controlled, Secret Streaming Sereis

    Inside Tinder's Secret Streaming Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Popular dating app Tinder is set to release a choose-your-own-adventure-style original series in early October, marking its first outing as a content financier and distributor, numerous individuals close to the project told Variety. The series is set against an impending apocalypse, one of the insiders noted, and asks the question “Who would you spend your [...]

  • Streaming Wars Placeholder TV

    Explosion of Streaming Services Points to Price Wars on the Horizon

    With its $800 iPhones and $1,400 Hermès smart watches, Apple’s not exactly in the business of bargain-bin pricing. But the surprisingly low-priced debut of Apple TV Plus, at $4.99 per month for a family subscription, is a signal that the streaming video market of tomorrow — soon to be awash with services from Disney, WarnerMedia [...]

  • 'Family Reunion' Renewed for Season 2

    'Family Reunion' Renewed for Season 2 at Netflix

    Netflix has renewed the multi-generational live action comedy series “Family Reunion” for a second season. Loretta Devine, Tia Mowry-Hardrict, Anthony Alabi, Talia Jackson, Isaiah Russell-Bailey, Cameron J. Wright and Jordyn Raya James will all return for more of M’Dear’s home cooking and McKellan’s dance moves. “Family Reunion” follows the McKellans who move from Seattle to Georgia [...]

  • Cokie Roberts Dead: Journalist Savvy About

    Cokie Roberts, Journalist Savvy About Politics, Dies at 75

    Journalist Cokie Roberts, who was a contributing senior news analyst for NPR, a regular round-table analyst for “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” and a political commentator for ABC News, among many other contributions during a four-decade career, has died. She was 75. Roberts died Tuesday due to complications from breast cancer, her family confirmed. “Cokie’s [...]

  • Selena Gomez

    Selena Gomez-Produced Docuseries 'Living Undocumented' Ordered at Netflix

    Selena Gomez is set to produce a docuseries with Netflix. The series, entitled “Living Undocumented,” follows eight undocumented families who took the extraordinary risk of allowing film crews to chronicle their lives as they faced potential deportation. Ranging from harrowing to hopeful, their journeys illuminate and humanize the complex U.S. immigration system. The series depicts [...]

  • Veep cast - Outstanding Comedy Series69th

    'Veep' Cast, Kardashian Sisters Among Next Round of Emmy Presenters

    A “Veep” reunion is on tap this Sunday on the Emmy stage, as producers reveal the second round of presenters at this year’s ceremony. Emmy nominee Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who’s poised to make history on Sunday if she wins (giving her the title for most Emmy wins ever by a performer), will be joined on stage [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content