Supported by: High Commission of Canada in Bangladesh
Project period: 2017- 2018
Canada has been promoting freedom of religion in Bangladesh through various initiatives.
Teamed up with the News Network, the High Commission of Canada/Canada Fund implemented a project to promote freedom of religion through media action. It was focused on news reporters, working for local and national mainstream print and electronic media houses and the media gatekeepers, including editors, executive editors, news editors, news-room editors of local newspapers and online news portals.
The project, “Programme for Supporting Journalists to Promote Freedom of Religion,” undertook several activities in various remote districts of Bangladesh, vulnerable for a peaceful coexistence of all religious people. As part of the activities, participating journalists were sensitized and their professional abilities to report and publish quality report items with respect to freedom of religion and human rights were improved. The initiative has played an important role to raise awareness of the people on the issues relating to religious freedom.
The initiative was the first of its kind in Bangladesh, particularly for the media people. The project has drawn the attention of policy planners, prominent civil society members, rights-based groups and media people, and was highly appreciated from different levels with a plea to keep continue in other districts. They said the initiative should be continued and expanded in other districts of the country and could be replicated in other countries where freedom of religion often faces challenges.
Supported by UNESCO
Project period: 2016-2017
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. So, the safety of journalists has now become a major concern of the country and the world.
According to media rights groups, at least 27 journalists and bloggers have been killed in such attacks since the country’s independence in 1992 (CPJ,2015). In most cases, killers and attackers went unpunished and the motives were not clear.
To face the challenges, News Network with the support from UNESCO implemented the project to make journalists more aware about the safety measures and also ensure a constructive engagement of concerned stakeholders, individuals and organizations involved in advocacy to create a safe field for journalists. The objectives of the project were: (i) strengthening 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; (ii) promoting good governance and transparency by developing pluralistic media institutions, including community media, and by building capacities of the media professionals.
The project was implemented in the following districts: Faridpur, Sylhet, Jessore and Satkhira. The key activities of the project included:
- Raising level of understanding of safety measures and improving capacity of journalists for reporting from danger zones;
- Analysing cases of violence against journalists to examine how they might have been avoided;
- Training journalists to report on crimes against journalists;
- Establishing a peer network for monitoring crimes against journalists and advocating journalists’ safety in Bangladesh.
News Network believes journalists who participated in the programme will continue the initiative beyond the project period as part of their professional and social responsibility. They will also keep sharing their learning with the colleagues and friends.
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: United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF)
Project period: December 2014 – November 2016
Bangladesh still has to go a long way to establish democracy and ensure human rights as enshrined in the country’s constitution.
In a democratic society, media is considered to be the fourth estate of the nation. It continuously plays the role by monitoring the policies and activities of the government, policymakers, officials and politicians. Also, it ensures people’s access to information so that they can make an informed decision, an essential ingredient of democracy in any country.
With this understanding, News Network implemented the project, “Rural Media Development for Promoting Democracy and Human Rights in Bangladesh” in 12 remote districts of the country. The project was aimed at improving the media and civil society organisations’(CSOs) ability in rural areas to report on democracy and human rights issues, and thereby raising public awareness of their rights. The key activities of the project were: (i) training and sensitizing rural journalists on democracy and human rights issues; (ii) reporting competitions among the trained journalists; (iv) media training for CSOs staff; (v) interactive meetings of the trained journalists and CSOs officials and workers in project areas; (vi) web advocacy for promoting democracy and human rights; and (vii) build up network among trained journalists and CSOs.
The News Network with the assistance from United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF)addressed the project to promote democracy and human rights in project areas. The participating journalists and CSOs emphasised on the need for replicating the programme in other districts of the country and form a platform to connect the beneficiaries and improvement of fragile democratic situation persisting in the country.
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 on 1st June 2010 in Khagarachari, Bandarban and Rangamati hill districts of Bangladesh. With the financial assistance of UNESCO/IPDC, News Network organised three, one-monthlong skill development training for local journalists in those districts’ headquarters. Objectives were to improve their professional ability and understanding.
It was first of its kind training in Hilly regions. Reputed senior journalists’ trainers and experts conducted the courses. Total 60 local journalists, working for regional and national news media took part in the programme. They found the training was very much effective and useful to them. Apart from developing reporting skill they were sensitized on various issues like; ethics of journalism, professional and social duties and responsibilities, human right, gender equality, global warming and climate change, combating violence against women and the role journalists to promote peace and tolerance. The programme was highly appreciated by the local administration, media houses, journalists’ union leaders and CSOs.
The trained journalists are doing far better than earlier. They are now more confident, skilled and careful to their professional duties and responsibilities. The project ended in May 2011.
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.