Supporting Journalists to Promote Freedom of Religion
Project period: 15 September 2017- 15 April 2018
News Network implemented the project, with financial support from Canada Fund for Local Initiatives-CFLI, to promote freedom of religion through media action. Its target group was the local news reporters, working for local and national mainstream print and electronic media and the media gatekeepers (i.e. editors, executive editors, news editors, news-room editors) of local newspapers and online news portals. Objectives of the project were to support local journalists to promote freedom of religion and peaceful coexistence of people of all religions through; (i) strengthening the professional capacity of local journalists/news reporters and (ii) organising interactive meetings with media gatekeepers (publishers, editors and news editors) of local media to discuss the issues and their impact and publishing items with respect to freedom of religion and human rights. The project was implemented in Rangpur, Jashore and Khulna districts.
The initiative was the first of its kind in Bangladesh, particularly for the media people. It has drawn attention of policy planners, prominent civil society members, rights-based groups, other relevant stakeholders and received appreciations from various levels with a plea to continue the programme in other districts of the country. Such project can be replicated in other countries where freedom of religion often faces challenges.