Mrs Harsaran Bir Kaur Pandey is a media-communications consultant. She has had a challenging four decade-plus career in media/development communication and education. As a media professional she was one of the pioneers in India of television news production and reporting during her 14 year career with Doordarshan. The government selected her for specialization in TV news with BBC London.
Mrs Harsaran was a key part of the DD News team during India’s years of turmoil and growth (1972-1986) including the Emergency, Operation Blue Star, the assassination of Mrs. Gandhi and induction of Mr. Rajiv Gandhi as PM. She played a major role in TV News and hers was a well-known name and face across the country. As part of the press team, she frequently accompanied Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and PM Rajiv Gandhi on foreign tours, reporting on the Colombo and the New Delhi NAM Summits, the CHOGM, the Cancun North-South Summit, and interviewed international leaders like Fidel Castro, Kenneth Kaunda, and Yasser Arafat, among others.
For the next twenty years, she worked with the United Nations. As Information Officer with UNICEF India her work was focused on women and children, advocating child survival and development, universal primary education, and supporting the work of the Technology Missions led by Mr Sam Pitroda.
From 1997 she worked for the World Health Organization as Regional Information Officer for the eleven countries of the South East Asia Region (SEAR). Her key task was to demystify health issues and be a bridge between the media and the health experts. She routinely provided information support to all WHO health programmes. During several global/national health crises e.g. SARS, Avian Influenza, the Bhuj earthquake and the tsunami in six countries of the WHO SEAR Region, she provided information support based on principles of Risk communication. As part of WHO’s global Information team she supported the formulation and passage of WHO’s first health law, the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control, adopted by member countries.
After superannuation from WHO, Mrs Harsaran works as a Consultant on health/communication and Risk Communication issues with WHO and other UN agencies (FAO). She also lectures at the National Institute for Disaster Management (on media and disasters and gender and disasters); and at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication.
She writes on health and spiritual issues for several magazines and has published her first book “The Radiation Threat: An emergency in the making” which looks at risks to human health from radiations, emanating from the earth, from building materials and from cell phones and mobile phone towers and ways to reduce such harm. She is working on her second book and also makes documentary films on health issues.