Presence of multiple competing press clubs within districts creating division among journalists, speakers say
Speakers at a webinar on Saturday encouraged journalists' associations to come forward as a group to protect their rights, despite any ideological differences.
The webinar, titled “Freedom of Media and Public Interest,” was organized by the Centre for Governance Studies (CGS). The two-hour long online discussion was moderated by CGS Executive Director Zillur Rahman.
The discussants were Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) Chief Executive Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Bhorer Kagoj Editor Shaymal Datta, Asian Age President Shoeb Chowdhury, NTV Head of News Zahirul Alam, and AP Bureau Chief Julhas Alam.
The discussion covered the current state of media freedom in Bangladesh in protecting and promoting the rights of the common people. Recent events surrounding journalist Rozina Islam were also touched upon by the speakers, said a media release.
Julhas Alam raised concerns about the editorial policy of newspapers, where he said a fine line should be established between ethics and standard to enhance the quality of such policy.
He also said the presence of multiple competing press clubs within districts was creating division among journalists.
Zahirul Alam said a dark alliance had emerged journalism and it is directly affecting the quality of investigative journalism.
He also said the mushroom-like growth of media houses is detrimental to freedom of media as it reduces check and balance evaluation.
Shoeb Chowdhury said media law and broadcast law were not up to international standards.
He suggested increased coordination and consensus among journalists to tackle contemporary challenges.
Shaymal Datta recommended initiatives to build training institutions in the country.
He said social media is neither social nor the media, and it is harmful that people are depending on social media platforms as sources of information.
He also said the role of the media industry in contributing to societal development has diminished in the post-Liberation War era.
Syeda Rizwana Hasan prioritized accountability for public servants, who are being paid through people’s taxes.
She also demanded an answer to why phone calls of the common people were being tapped and leaked.