News Network with assistance from the High Commission of Canada/Canada Fund to Bangladesh has undertaken a programme to support local journalists to promote freedom of religion and peaceful coexistence of all religious people in Bangladesh. The project, ‘Programme for Supporting Journalists to Promote Freedom of Religion,’ will cover Jessore, Khulna and Rangpur districts of the country.
The initiative is aimed at sensitising and improving the professional ability of journalists and arranging interactive meetings with media gatekeepers of local newspapers to discuss the issues and publish items on freedom of religion and human rights.
It’s a trend-setting project and first of its kind in Bangladesh.The project will have multiple impacts and results. Pressure groups and organisations involved in defending human rights and advocacy will get benefit of its outputs. Besides the project is potential to replicate or expand in other parts of the country or other developing countries, where freedom of religion often faces challenges.
Supported by UNESCO
The media in Bangladesh is aggressive and vibrant. Journalists often play a bold role in exposing corruption and wrong-doings in the society. Their brave work earns them public admiration, but it also exposes them to threats on their life, harassment and insecurity. Safety of journalists has become a concern in the country. Incidents of attacks on journalists are rising.
According to media rights groups at least 30 journalists and bloggers have been killed in such attacks since the country’s independence in 1971. In most cases killers and attackers went unpunished. Even in most cases the motive of killing and attacks was not clear.
The violence against journalists and media has increased globally. International media monitoring organisation Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has identified 20 deadliest countries for journalists. Bangladesh is one of these countries, where freedom of press and freedom of expression is under serious threat. Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF) notes the ‘dangerous situation’ for journalists in Bangladesh, ranking the country 146th among 180 countries in its Press Freedom Index 2017.
UNESCO released “New Fronts, Brave Voices: Press Freedom in South Asia 2016-17” on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day on May 3, 2017. The report prepared by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) documents the “deteriorating press freedom situation, media rights issues, and national and regional activities to empower journalists to confront the challenges relating to press freedom of South Asia over the past year”.
Across South Asia, journalism has always been a tough profession. Its diverse terrain for media workers is ever challenged by the complex socio-cultural and political dynamic that also weaves it together. Out in the field, in local and regional beats as well as on high-profile political trails, journalists and media workers are too often exposed to the dangers this volatile mix presents. As the numbers of incidents recorded by the IFJ and its affiliates show, they are exposed to threats, violence or intimidation in a bid to silence. For too many, it takes the highest price – life.
Almost 90% of the victims in 2014 – 2015 were local journalists, confirming a trend observed throughout the last decade.
To face the challenges against press freedom and freedom of expression and defend those News Network, with the support of UNESCO, has undertaken the project for safety of journalists aiming to make them aware about the safety measures and also ensure a constructive engagement of concerned stakeholders and people_ individuals or organizations _ involved in advocacy to create a safe field for journalists and media houses.
- To strengthen the environment for press freedom, journalistic safety and/or self-regulation, for on-line and/or off-line media, through favorable policies and/or practices.
- To promote good governance and transparency by developing pluralistic media institutions, including community media, and/or by building media professional capacities.
The project will give focus to (i) Build awareness of safety measures when reporting from danger zones; (ii) Analyse cases of violence against journalists to examine how they might have been avoided; (iii) Educate journalists about the risks of investigative journalism and political reporting; (iv) Educate journalists about existing resources in Bangladesh for journalists facing hostility; (v) Train journalists to report on crimes against journalists. The initiative shall also establish a peer network for monitoring crimes against journalists and advocating journalists’ safety in Bangladesh.
News Network believes that the safety of journalists must be addressed both as a human rights issue in itself and as a foundation for press freedom. The journalists who will participate in this programme will continue the initiative as part of their professional and social responsibility. They will share their learning with their colleagues and friends within their organizations and outside. The peer network / advocacy group is expected to monitor and promote the safety of journalists well beyond the project period.
The Embassy of the Federal Republic of the Germany in Dhaka
Bangladesh is one of the world’s top 20 countries vulnerable to climate change and global warming. One-third of the country’s people are already affected by the climate change and hree-fourth its population will face serious crisis by 2050.
Climate-induced cyclonic storms have already claimed the lives of thousands of people and displaced many more, pushing the number of internal climate refuges.
So, achieving the country’s millennium development goals (MDGs) is very much dependent on how a government addresses the impacts of climate change. By this time the Government of Bangladesh and many organizations are implementing various programmes to face the challenge of climate change. But more actions are needed to overcome the issues.
Under the situation, News Network has taken up this project for journalists to provide them with better understanding on climate change issues and improve their professional ability for quality reporting on the issue.
Journalists at all levels have a greater role in making people more aware and create mass opinion on the ways for adapting to climate change. Their news
items and articles can greatly help the policy planners, officials, public representatives to undertake need-based policy planning and implement development activities. Above all, they can play the role of watchdog on environmental issues and governance.
Project covered: Bagerhat, Cox’s Bazar and Rajshahi zones
- To give understanding to local journalists and editors on climate change issues, how it is affecting the country, adaptation and environmental governance.
- Skill development training of local journalists for better news reporting on climate change issues.
- To organise training workshops for the journalists, working for print and electronic media from climate change from project areas.
- To arrange interaction meeting with local media editors/publishers executive editors and news editors.
The one year project has successfully completed in December 2015.
Supported by: Supported by: The United Nations Democracy Fund
For a nation to live with dignity and honour, it is important to uphold democracy and human rights. Bangladesh constitution also endorses these principles. But the country still has to go a long wa
in the establishment of democracy and ensuring human rights enshrined in the constitution.
We believe multidimensional initiatives are necessary for strengthening democratic values and principles.
Media has an important role to play to make a society truly democratic and respectful to human rights. In democracy, media is considered the fourth branch (fourth estate) of the government. It plays this role by monitoring the policies and activities of the government, gand respectful to human rights. In democracy, media is considered the fourth branch (fourth estate) of the government. It plays this role by monitoring the policies and activities of the government, government leaders and politicians. It ensures people’s access to information so they can make informed choice, an essential ingredient of democracy.
With this understanding News Network has launched the project titled, ‘Rural Media Development for Promoting Democracy and Human Rights in Bangladesh’, supported by United Nations Democracy Fund ( UNDEF). In Bangladesh where journalists and media workers, especially in rural districts, lack in proper knowledge and applications of democratic values, this project is relevant and a timely initiative. It is aiming to enhance knowledge and capacity of rural journalists and CSO/NGO activists in greater understanding and application of issues related to democracy and promotion of human rights of the citizens.
Launched in December 2014, the project will continue for next two years. It will cover 12 districts of the country. It has number of activities and most of those are focused on rural areas, where people are less aware of their rights. Violence and violation of human rights issues are reportedly higher in rural areas than in urban society.
The project’s overall goal: Improve respect for democracy and human rights in Bangladesh society.
Objectives: To improve the media and civil society organization’s ability in rural areas to report on democracy and human rights issues and thereby raising public awareness of their rights.
Project strategy: It has been observed that most of the journalists working in remote districts and sub-districts have inadequate understanding and skills to write quality reports. CSO activists and staff officials also suffer a lack of proper understanding and capacity in information gathering and sharing, campaign and advocacy on these issues. So, many serious incidents of human rights violation often go unreported.
To overcome these challenges the project aims at implementing the following initiatives:
Training and sensitizing rural journalists on democracy and human rights issues; The activity seeks to improve the rural journalist’s professional skills and adequate knowledge about democracy and human rights and their violation. It is expected that their reports will help raise general public awareness and opinion.
Commissioning items to train journalists;
Reporting completions for trained journalists;
Media training for CSO staff; Local CSOs have limited capacity to report and provide an analysis of the human rights situation. Their understanding of the values of democracy and human rights is limited. The project strategy is to develop their skills to better report, conduct case studies, investigations and prepare press releases, circulars, campaign materials and templates. It will also build their expertise to share information with journalists and social media.
Network building among trained journalists and CSOs; Interactive meetings will be organized among the trained journalists and CSO officials and workers in each project district to improve information sharing and cooperation among these groups working to defend democracy and human rights issues.
Network events for editors of local media houses; To arrange workshop with the editors to get better understanding on democratic and human rights issues and the effective role and responsibility of local media houses.
Website advocacy for promoting democracy and human rights; The News Network will develop a website to publish the issues related to the project and provide materials to a wider audience (including project outputs such as training materials, texts and tools, the reports of trained journalists and CSOs).
These are the ways we seek to work for promoting democracy and human rights so the citizens of Bangladesh become more aware about their basic rights and how to get those in building a better life.
Supported By Anne Frank- Fonds
The project initiated in 2008 under the assistance of Anne Frank-Fonds, a Swiss based international organization. News-Network started this project with a view to support the educational needs of te Harijan Children. Two elementary schools were set up in Bogra town, a northern district headquarters of the country.
“Harijan community are one of most neglected comminutes in the country.”
They are the poorest of the poor, deprived of most of the social privileges such as education, healthcare, sanitation and safe water. The exact size of their population in Bangladesh is not known. But it is likely to be several thousand scattered across the country. Harijans are a as education, healthcare, sanitation and safe water. The exact size of their population in Bangladesh is not known. But it is likely to be several thousand scattered across the country. Harijans are also called untouchable because they were considered to be outside the confines of the caste. Their impurity derived from their traditional occupations like Swiper (those who cleans). Such kind of an important project needs to continue but due to unavailability of resource it was not possible to continue after December 2013.
Supported By Plan International-Bangladesh, The Netherlands Period: July 2011 to December 2013
Plan International supported News Network’s ‘Girl Power Project’ ended in December 2013. Project implemented various activities including, organizing sensitization workshops for journalists, discusion meetings with the school and college girls, guardians, media people, officials, opinion leaders and public representatives on GBV issues around the country. Publishing a newsletters “Girl Power” and preparing issue based news-features and disseminate those to media for wider publication also the part of activities.
Ultimate objectives of the project were to raise mass awareness and create opinion to in favour of establishing girl power in the society.
News Networe part of activities.
Ultimate objectives of the project were to raise mass awareness and create opinion to in favour of establishing girl power in the society.
News Network also provided technical support to carry out the media programmes of other Plan partners.
Supported By The American Center, U.S. Embassy, Dhaka Period: 2011 to September 2013
It is the second time that The American Center has approved a grant to a News Network program. Earlier they have also supported all most a similar News Network project in October 2005 to September 006, which was completed successfully and the then Charge d’Affairs Ms. Judith A. Chammas was kind enough to attend a function at News Network office and distributed certificate among the fellow journalists.
Aims and goals of the current program are to increase the number of female journalists in the country.
As per undertaken activities, 20 females have been awarded in a nine month fellowship on journalism in 2011 another 20 awarded in 2013. Fellowship includes in-hmale journalists in the country.
As per undertaken activities, 20 females have been awarded in a nine month fellowship on journalism in 2011 another 20 awarded in 2013. Fellowship includes in-house training and internship in major news media houses.
Supported By Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD)
Under the project a two-day long motivational workshop was organised in Dhaka for trainee journalists and contributors working for Dhaka city based major print and electronic media houses. Twenty jurnalists participated in the workshop. They were given motivation and better understanding on the basic of journalism, including principle of journalism, objective journalism, professional responsibilities, behaviours,duties and rights, technique of information gathering and right to information. Aims and objectives of the project were to the make the journalists realize about their professional ethics and provide better understanding on sensible journalism, freedom of press, access to informatAims and objectives of the project were to the make the journalists realize about their professional ethics and provide better understanding on sensible journalism, freedom of press, access to information and social responsibilities.
Supported By UNESCO/IPDC Period: 2010 to 2011
The project was launched in June 1st, 2010. Under the project curriculum News Network had organised three different one-month long training sessions in hilly districts i.e. Khagarachari, Bandarban nd Rangamati of Bangladesh. The idea of training the journalists of Hilly regions was undertaken for the first time in a country like Bangladesh. Senior journalists, who are currently working for international and national media conducted the courses. The project was completed successfully in time. 60 local journalists, including 9 female and 51 male were brought under the skill development training. The pa rticipants found the programme very effective and beneficial for their professional devel 60 local journalists, including 9 female and 51 male were brought under the skill development training. The pa rticipants found the programme very effective and beneficial for their professional development. During the trainings they were given better understanding on various issues, like ethics of journalism, professional duties and responsibilities, social responsibilities of a journalist, human right, gender equalities, global warming, climate change, journalist’s role in combating corruption & bureaucracy. The programme was conducted successfully and it made a mark on various levels especially on the journalism sector of Bangladesh. Editors and senior journalists said they are benefited from the programme. They mentioned that their reporters/ correspondents/ stringers, who received the training from the News Network are now doing far better than earlier and more careful about their professional duties and responsibilities.
Supported By Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD) Period: 2010
The project,’ funded by Taiwan ‘Motivational Programme for Sensible Journalism completed in due time. With their assistance, News Network prepared and compiled motivational and basic training materals for the local journalists working in remote areas. Before preparing the materials, a need assessment workshop was held in Dhaka on 8th November 2010. About 20 journalists participated in this workshop. They also put forward their recommendations and notes for developing materials. A five-member team of senior journalists and News Network staff was formed to prepare/compile the training and motivational materials. Material included; a training guideline and templates for the resource persons. team of senior journalists and News Network staff was formed to prepare/compile the training and motivational materials. Material included; a training guideline and templates for the resource persons. News Network have prepared a set to documents which included topics like ‘Principle of journalism’, ‘Right to Information Act’, ‘Act related to combating violence against women and children’, ‘UN Convention on Anti-corruption’, CEDAW(Committee on the Elimination of the Discrimination against Women), Human Rights etc. It was prepared for future training programmes and motivational courses for the trainees. With limited support, News Network did an excellent job on promoting sensible journalism in the country. Organizations promoting freedom of press, human right organizations, media houses, students-teachers of journalism and experts are directly benefited from this.