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Communicating Humanitarian Crises with Osama Saeed Bhutta (2017)

This week on Govcomms 'From the Vault', we revisit our conversation with Osama Saeed Bhutta, who is currently the Director of Communications, Policy & Campaigns at Shelter UK. At the time of this conversation, he was the Director of Communications at Amnesty International.


Osama started out as a volunteer organiser and press officer for the Stop the War movement in the UK, which later landed him a position with the Scottish National Party as a media and research officer.

Fast forward a decade and a remarkable career with news organisation Al Jazeera. His role at Amnesty International was to unite and mobilise the world against ever worsening humanitarian crises, widening gaps in wealth, education and equality and more refugees than ever before in the history of the world.

Along with host David Pembroke, Osama discussed the intersection of public relations and government communications, exploring how effective communication strategies can help build trust, credibility, and support for government initiatives.

“When you’re trying to get into people’s hearts, that kind of fact-based approach, which has historically been the approach of NGOs, is less successful, and at the moment, we are being eaten for breakfast as a movement.”


Discussed in this episode:

  • When images work against you and disempower your audience
  • The problem with highlighting the problem
  • The need for positive messaging in the harshest times
  • The importance of publicising the historical
  • The role of the internet in uniting people and the need for people to get out from behind their keyboards.


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