A News Interview

Tonight BBC Local Radio UNITE TO HEAR REAL-LIFE STORIES BEHIND RACE AND COVID-19 with Karen Gabay, Summaya Mughal, and Dotun Adebayo

This hour-long programme going out tonight 6th May across all BBC Local Radio Stations exploring why Coronavirus is having a disproportionate impact on Black, Asian and other ethnic minority groups. The presenters are Karen Gabay, Summaya Mughal, and Dotun Adebayo.  It is live tonight across BBC Local Radio 7:00pm-8:00pm and will be available afterwards on BBC Sounds.

As striking data reveals Coronavirus is having a disproportionate impact on Black, Asian and other ethnic minority groups, all 39 BBC local radio stations across England are joining forces in a one-hour special this evening (Wednesday, May 6, 2020) at 7pm to explore what is being done to find out why and to hear the powerful human stories behind the figures.

Presenters Karen Gabay (BBC Radio Manchester), Summaya Mughal (BBC Radio Leicester), and Dotun Adebayo (BBC Radio London) will broadcast a live programme from three different locations across 39 local radio stations as well as linking in with local community radio stations in each area.

Is it our genetic make-up, the way we live, or the jobs that we do?

Race and Covid-19 will look at the facts and discuss what more can be done about it, including inviting listeners to get involved by sharing their own views and personal experiences.

The data is striking and prompted the government to announce a review into the impact that Coronavirus is having on ethnic minorities:

  • Only 14% of people in England and Wales are from ethnic minority backgrounds, according to the 2011 census; however, the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre found that 34% of more than 3,000 critically ill coronavirus patients identified as black, Asian or minority ethnic1.
  • Black people account for 6% of coronavirus deaths in hospitals in England, but only around 3.5% of the population, according to BBC analysis2.
  • BBC News analysis of 135 healthcare workers whose deaths have been publicly announced found 84 were from ethnic minority backgrounds3.

Karen Gabay said: “Covid-19 has directly impacted on my family, friends and listeners on a daily basis. I am not alone in this situation and I believe that this special gives a platform for us to share our stories and will help us to hopefully feel supported and push for solutions to help us overcome how we are disproportionally affected in this pandemic.”

Summaya Mughal said: “As a broadcaster, based in one of the most diverse cities in the UK, I feel a responsibility to my community to try and understand why Covid-19 seems to be disproportionally affecting us. On a personal level, the programme is important to me because this issue concerns my neighbours, friends and, being British-Pakistani, my family also. The programme is for them, and my community.”

Dotun Adebayo said: “Every lockdown story tells a story that tells a story. This important story raises some fundamental questions about equal rights and justice in our society.”

The idea for the programme grew from a recent broadcast on BBC Radio Manchester that was also aired on Legacy 90.1 – a community station in Moss Side.

BBC Radio Manchester Editor, Kate Squire, said: “Across BBC Local radio we have fantastic presenters from communities disproportionately affected by Covid-19, and I’m so pleased we’re able to come together as a network to be able to debate and discuss this significant issue further. It’s vital we give people a voice and debate this issue on our 39 local stations as well as community stations in all our areas.”

The BBC recently signed a new Memorandum of Understanding with the Community Media Association (CMA), an umbrella organisation for 300 community radio stations, which means they will be able to take BBC local radio content – including this special programme – for free during the crisis.

Race and Covid-19 – a BBC local radio special. Wednesday May 6, 2020, 7- 8pm, across all BBC Local Radio stations and on BBC Sounds.

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