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Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media: 20th World Press Freedom Day on 3rd May jointly observed by Community Radio Stations & Local Press Club in Bangladesh

 

Barguna_LokobetarThe Community Radio Stations of the country, in cooperation with local Press Clubs, observed 20th World Press Freedom day on 3rd May, 2013 with support from Free Press Unlimited & Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC).

 

On the occasions of observing the day celebration, 433 rural journalists joined in seminar, discussions, rally and talk shows held in 10 community radio stations of the country. Apart from rural journalist member of Management Committee, Advisory Committee of Community Radio Management committees, Locally Elected representatives, Civil Society leaders attended the program.

 

In 1993, the General Council of United Nations officially announced 3rd May as World Press Freedom day. Since then, UNESCO is working on freedom of expression of opinion; protection of liberty and rights of Media.UNESCO is committed to exchange free opinion and knowledge and to nourish the process for freedom of expression through Sound and photographs.

 

Considering the importance of Press Freedom and freedom of expression a seminar entitled as: “Declaration on Promoting Independent and pluralistic Media” was held in Windhalk, Namibia on 3rd May, 1991 in which African journalists were the participants.Here, free flow of information and press freedom were declared as pre-requisite for independence .Windhalk has declared the term “freedom” as to be free from all types of govt.political and economic controls. Appropriate infrastructure is also a necessary pre-condition to ensure press freedom. Freedom also emphasized on achieving professional quality in respect of the media of community interests. In this declartion,”pluralistic” Media has also been defined. There, it has been mentioned that community media will be free from any control or influence from any individual and govt.It will also combine and assimilate different types of opinion and outlook.

 

Windhoek declaration is representative in the sectors of broadcasting & digital media. Now a day the use of mobile phone, internet and satellite technology is increasing. The issue is acknowledged by human rights convention, civil and political rights and human rights resolution of United Nations.   

 

This is now evident that, the congenial atmosphere for establishing press freedom and culture is a long-term mission, when evil forces can take over the power at any time and disrupt the free press practices.However; incidents like Arab Spring or the events in recent Myanmar and South Sudan still create hope and inspiration. In fact long-term autocratic rule is not helpful to create environment for press freedom.However, many of the international organizations are working with citizens of member countries towards establishing a safer press freedom and freedom of opinion.

 

Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC) has observed World Press Freedom day on 3rd May in cooperation with community radio stations .Each of the stations collaborated with local press club and organized a seminar on issues of Press Freedom. Prior to that, BNNRC prepared a theme paper on the basis of ‘THEME ‘declared by UNESCO and distributed within the stations accordingly.

 

Find a brief description as below:

Community Radio Barendra 99.2 : Noagaon District press club and radio Barendra jointly organized a meeting on press freedom where Mr.Enamul Haque, District Commissioner joined as Chief Guest. In his speech, he expressed his concern regarding the security of the journalists. They are performing their job, even within their security concerns. Among others, Mr.Shafiqul Islam, General Secretary, District Press Club, Abdur Rashid Tareq, Harun-ar-Rashid joined in the discussion. A total of 40 participants attended in the meeting.

 

Community Rural Krishi Radio 98.8: In a discussion on Press Freedom jointly organized by Amtali Press Club- Barguna and Amtali Reporters’ Unity, the meeting was presided over by Dr.Md.Jahangir Alam, Coordinator, Krishi Radio. A total of 45 participants attended the meeting. The discussants included Bhajhari Kunda,President,Reporters’ Unity,Paritosh Karmakar,President,Amtali Press Club,Sayed Khokon,Secretary,Press club and Haytuzzaman Miraj,Secretary,Amtali Reporters’ Unity.

 

Community Radio Chilmari 99.2 : Radio Chilmari and Chilmari Press Club-Kurigram jointly organized discussion meeting at Chilmari Upazila Parishad Meeting room on the 3rd May.Mr.Nazrul Islam Sabu,president Chilmari Press Club presided over the meeting .Mr.Shaowkat Ali Sarkar, BirBikram,Upazila Chairman(Chimari)& Chairman, Advisory Council,Radio Chilmari  and Mr.Mamunl-Hasan,Upazila Nirbahi Officer & - and  Member Secretary, Advisory Council, Radio Chilmari  attended as Chief  and Special Guest respectively.A total of 54 participants joined in the workshop.

 

Community Radio Jhinuk 99.2 : Radio Jhinuk organized a meeting on the occasion of observing Press Freedom day at Srijony Bangladesh Auditorium. Principal Mr.Tabarak Hossain, vice-chairman,Management Committee of Radio Jhenuk presided over the meeting.M.Saiful Babul, President, Jhenaidah Press Club joined as Chief Guest of the Program.Among others,Mr.Mahmud Hasan Tipu,the local correspondent, Daily Samakal discussed on the issue.A total of 40 participants attended in the meeting.

 

Community Radio Pallykantha 99.2: Radio Pallykantha organized a meeting in collaboration with Moulvi Bazar Press Club. A total of 60 participants attended. Mr. Abdul Hamid Mahbub presided over the meeting ,where SM Umed Ali, General Secretary, Press Club,Cultural Activist ASM Saleh Sohel and representatives from civil society, Listeners’ Clubs and Radio Pallykantha were present .

 

Community Radio Lokobetar 99.2: On the occasion of World Press Freedom day observation a rally rounded the city and met in a discussion session at Barguna Press Club.Mr. Abdul Wahab Bhuyian, Deputy Commissioner joined as Chief guest and Superintend of Police Mr. Shamol Kumar Nath, Municipality Mayor Md.Shadat Hossain and Additional District Commissioner Mohammad Ali attended as Chief guests.A total of 40 participants joined the meeting.

 

Community Radio Mahananda 98.8 : Radio Mahananda organized a seminar in cooperation with Chapainawabganj Press Club in which Local Journalist Mr.Zonab Ali, Golam Faruq Mithun,Convenor,Management Committee,Radio Mahananda and Hasib Hossain,CEO ,Radio Mahananda  discussed.Golam Mostafa Mantu,President,Chapainawabganj Press Club presided over the seminar. A total of 47 participants attended the seminar.Radio Mahananda organized talk show in the occasion.

 

CommunityRadio Naf 99.2: The seminar was presided over by Javed Iqbal Chowdhury, President Teckhnaf Press Club. Mr.Abdullah Al Mamun, Upazila Nirbahi Officer(in-charge) and Didarul Ferdouse, Officer-in-charge(inquiry),Tekhnaf PS were present as Chief and Special guest respectively.A total of 42 participants attended the seminar.

 

Community Radio Sagar Giri 99.2: Radio Sagargiri has organized the seminar on Press Freedom in collaboration with Sitakunda Press Club at YPSA human resource center at Sitakunda.A total of 33 participants attended the session. Mr. M.Hedayet Hossain, president, Sitakunda press club presided over ,where local journalist Nirdesh Barua,Sheikh Salahuddin,Krishna Chandra Das joined in the discussion.

 

Community Radio Nalta 99.2 : A seminar on Press Freedom  was organized at Radio Nalta Auditorium ,where Abu Sufian Sajal, Station Manager, Radio Nalta presided over and Dr.Abul Fazal Mahmud Bappi, Chief Advisor, Nalta Sharif Press Club attended as Chief Guest of the program. The local journalists discussed in the seminar. A total of 32 participants attended the program.

The following recommendations and Challenges have been generated through the seminars organized at different radio locations of the country:

Recommendations:

A database on assault/harassment of local journalists should be developed, The local journalists should undertake united steps to secure the journalists

 

Develop attitude of protest against any injustice towards the journalists, Take assistance from the local administration and develop good relationship with them.

 

Coordinated efforts within local administration and political parties. Inform local police station (GD) immediately after any incident occurred or any journalist is attacked

Protest against the incident by doing human rally, discussion/dialogue in an integrated way (with local level stakeholders)

 

Advocacy by preparing reports and release through different news and audiovisual media.

Coordination Cell formed among journalists, civil society organizations

 

Challenges: 

Often cases are filed against the Journalists individually, not against the owner of the media house.Journalists face undue influence and hostility from the owners ‘end.

 

Economic dependence and financial insolvency is a common obstacle for all journalists in their profession. Their lives are uncertain, non-insured!

 

Lack of training makes the journalists professionally inefficient. Lack of incentive from the owners ‘end

 

The journalists at border region had to face more critical situation/hostility and often their lives are endangered by the threats from smugglers and other miscreants. But they do n’t have any security coverage during reporting.

 

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BNNRC Strives for Achieving Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs)

BNNRC Strives for Achieving UN World Summit on The Information Society(UN WSIS) Action Plan

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