Assignment Asia

Assignment Asia is a unique weekly magazine program. It features reports, interviews and first-person accounts to highlight issues and reflect the vibrant and diverse cultures that make up the vast continent of Asia. Assignment Asia is driven by strong characters. Through their personal stories, we uncover social issues that affect a wide population in one of the most vibrant areas of the world. Assignment Asia is visually stunning, using some of the most creative visual storytellers from across the region. Most importantly, Assignment Asia is about storytelling. Not just reporting facts.

Full Episodes

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Challenging Gender Norms

Steeped in tradition, many Asian cultures have tightly conservative gender norms. But in some places, people are daring to challenge them. In Turkey, male belly dancing is making a comeback after generations of being kept in the background. It's an art usually associated with femininity. But in Istanbul, men are grabbing the spotlight and breaking stereotypes by swaying their bodies. As Reporter Natalie Carney reports, they are also raising the profile of Turkey's marginalized gay community.

Women Empowerment

Women in many parts of Asia remain vulnerable to abuse, but a few bright spots in the fight for empowerment and equality have emerged. In Pakistan, where thousands of women fall victims to violence every year, a law ensuring their protection was passed in early 2016. Reporter Danial Khan spoke with survivors of domestic violence who have risen above their ordeal and are now finding hope in the new law. Despite the reforms and changes sweeping the country, gender inequality persists in Myanmar, and women are particularly vulnerable to different forms of abuse.

Development

Asia has some of the world's most pressing problems, including poverty and disease. But despite the odds, progress is being made in some parts of the region. Pakistan is one of only two countries in the world where polio remains endemic. The Pakistani government has launched an aggressive vaccination drive, but workers on the ground face security threats, and sometimes, an unwelcoming public. Reporter Danial Khan meets the health workers who confront dangers and challenges in their mission to eradicate polio in Pakistan.

Emergency

This episode of Assignment Asia features groups and individuals on a mission to save lives. Without a state-run emergency service in their country, volunteers have taken on the task of responding to accidents and other emergencies in the Thai capital, Bangkok. They patrol the streets of the bustling city every night, rushing anywhere anyone needs rescue. Reporter Martin Lowe spent one busy but ultimately tragic night with Bangkok's volunteer rescuers. Among the casualties of war in Afghanistan is its healthcare system.