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Candidate Stories: Sabbiyah Pervez, BBC Look North

Sabbiyah was born and raised in Bradford and through Creative Access is able to bring her own community experiences to the mainstream media….

Sabbiyah had a passion for politics and local community and began blogging and writing whilst at University. Having spent her summers in Kashmir she can confidently speak from the perspectives of two cultures. In Autumn 2014 she was selected as a Creative Access intern to train with the BBC Look North team in Leeds, an opportunity which allowed her to share her insight on stories ranging from grooming in Rotherham, to terrorism to election campaigning. At the end of her internship, she was offered a role as Communities Reporter on attachment for BBC Look North. Sabbiyah said: “White mainstream media tends to shy away from reporting on ethnic minority issues. People only disclose to you if they trust you, yet not enough journalists have access to BAME communities.”

“My grandma doesn’t speak English – mainly because she was too busy raising her children and her husband was away a lot of the time,” Sabbiyah says. “With that background knowledge, I approached Asian women over 50 to get their stories across. It’s the first time these women have ever had a voice on TV.”

In 2016, she was the only journalist to be taken into the confidence of the parents of Huddersfield suicide bomber Abu Musa al-Britani. Speaking to the family in Punjabi and understanding their culture gave her access into family discussions about whether they would talk to the media about their son.

“White mainstream media tends to shy away from reporting on ethnic-minority issues. Creative Access gave me a chance to represent the BAME community and give them a voice.”

Sabbiyah has three young children and juggles this with her continuing role as Communities Reporter at BBC Look North. She won the Rising Star in Media award at the British Muslim Awards in January 2018.