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Media consultant to be awarded OBE for work in Afghanistan
10th January, 2005

A former BBC producer and Asian media consultant is to be awarded an OBE it was announced last week when the New Year's honours list was revealed. 43 year old Waseem Mahmood, currently Chief Consultant for the Baltic Media Centre in Denmark, will be honoured by the Queen for his "services to the development of media in post war countries".

Waseem's name was put forward by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office for his work in post war countries. He worked in Afghanistan for the EC and Danish government funded 'Good Morning Afghanistan' project, which he developed and then managed till January last year.

As well as developing projects in the Middle East, including Iraq, he has been setting up and managing a Dutch funded project called Kids News Network that broadcasts a weekly news programme for children on Afghanistan Television.

On hearing of the news he said: "I have been astounded by this recognition. When you are out in theatre, the important thing is that you focus on the job in hand, and for me that meant getting the show on air and then keeping it on air free from interference from the authorities. I never for one moment thought about being honoured in this way, to my mind the real heroes are those Afghans and Iraqis who are having to rebuild their countries in the face of continued adversity that none of us could begin to imagine."

Both 'Good Morning Afghanistan' and 'Good Evening Afghanistan', on Radio Afghanistan, were on air within two months of the liberation of Kabul and have been hugely successful. A recent survey indicated that 80% of the city's two million people had heard of the former, with 60% listening in at least four times a week.

Wassem has a long history of working within British media. Working at BBC Pebble Mill in Birmingham from 1982 to 1988, he produced and directed the Asian language programmes 'Asian Magazine' and 'Gharbar'. He later went on to develop a business plan for TV Asia, becoming Controller of programmes and production. TV Asia later became Zee TV. He then went to Channel East before becoming a media consultant for organisations including the BBC.

A book on his time in Afghanistan, in which he says everything will be vividly documented, is set to be published later this year titled 'Good Morning Afghanistan'. The award ceremony will be held in spring.

Waseem Mahmood can be contacted by email.

Baltic Media Centre.

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