Recently the British Ministry of Defence has declassified and released a report on the use of soap operas as an effective means to influence and shape the public opinion[1].

The report candidly and exhaustively describes the enormous efforts undertaken by BBC World Service in conjunction with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the MoD and several other agencies for the past 20 years to research and produce the soap opera “New Home, New Life”, which has been on air thrice a week in both Pashto and Dari.

Written based on real-life stories and intending to shape the views of the listeners and their communities, the series had a remarkable success, becoming the staple food for millions of Afghan listeners.

The success of this soap opera however raises some questions. Specifically, it evokes the possibility of a long-range, long-term process of shaping the thinking of large masses, which, while intended to move society in a positive direction, it can also be exploited for goals that are more nefarious. Hence, it seems safe to say, that any outstandingly successful radio or TV series should be scrutinized for hidden messages, which might reveal the producers intents.


[1] Unknown author: How Soap Operas Bring About Change, located at last accessed October 20, 2014.

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