More than 1,600 people have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus outbreak
More than 60% of the 456 local daily and weekly newspapers in six districts, including Dhaka, have shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic in Bangladesh, a survey revealed on Saturday.
Of the remaining 275 local newspapers, 163 (35.75%) are still trying to publish regularly and 18 are publishing sporadically in Dhaka, Rajshahi, Khulna, Barishal, and Sylhet, the Bangladesh Independent Journalist Network(BIJN) said in a zoom meeting.
Over 1,600 journalists have become unemployed because of the shutdowns, and there were an average of six journalists at each media house.
According to the study, local journalists may turn away from the profession due to the economic crisis.
BIJN Coordinator Amir Khasru disclosed the findings of the survey which was conducted from June 23-July 2.
“People’s access to news and the publishing of transparent news at the local level are on the decline due to the economic crisis,” he said.
“The public are not buying newspapers and hawkers are not delivering them. Furthermore, advertisements are totally off. All of this happened due to the Covid-19 pandemic in Bangladesh,” the BIJN coordinator added.
He also said a significant number of local corruption incidents were only covered by local newspapers and did not make it to national newspapers. As a result of less news coverage of corruption, irregularities, and abuse of power by institutional and non- institutional organizations, fewer corrupt individuals may be held accountable.
“This is totally an individual level survey of our own; we did not take the help of any organization or NGO. It has been done with the help of local journalists. We want freedom of media and expression, and we worked on it. After the shutdown, we are in fear and uncertainty about the re-launching of these newspapers,” he added.