[16 November 2019] Speakers emphasized to make people aware of their rights, expose its violations and focus attention on people and areas in need of the protection of human rights and reporting. VOICE, a rights-based research organisation in Dhaka, arranged a day-long media training-workshop titled “Enhance capacity on freedom of expression and human right reporting”. The Media Workshop has been held o 16 November 2019 at Greenpark Hotel in Mymensingh with the participation of more than 30 journalists of Jamalpur, Netrakona and Mymensingh districts.
Speakers and trainers emphasized the role of media in protecting and promoting human rights in Bangladesh. Moderating the sessions, Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of VOICE said that the journalists in Bangladesh are the frontline defender of the Human Rights incidents by reporting and promoting abuse and violations of human Rights issues and cases in the country. Media is playing a vital role by empowering the people providing information and creating enable environment facing challenges in times. Media also provides huge importance to cover the reports on the violence and human rights and it needs to give proper treatment to the news and investigative report citing our legal obligations and international norms and standard to ensure freedom of expression and human rights.
In the inaugural session, Additional Commissioner of Mymensingh division told that media must exercise freedom in reporting properly maintaining its ethics. Media’s role is certainly important to provide true information though now a days, disinformation and propaganda mislead people and create public disorder. He also mentioned that only appropriate reporting on the human rights issues can help people building an inclusive society with peace and harmony.
Speakers and participants raised concerns during sessions and said that according to ARTICLE 19 in 2107 year, violations of the right to freedom of expression in Bangladesh reached their highest point in five years, with 335 incidents. The speakers added that freedom of expression is widely restricted that sharply indicates that Bangladesh is violating fundamental freedoms and is not complying its commitment on SDG 16. Babli Akand, Alpana Akter, Shimul Shakhawat, Abdul Motaleb, among many, shared their experiences citing the harassment and challenges they faced during professional work. They urged for more effective workshop with basic hand-tools and lengthy period of time for the journalists on the human rights issues.
Since inception, the Bangladesh Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act was riddled with sweeping controversies and criticism. Enacted in 2006 and amended in 2013, the lCT act was full of gaping loopholes making it a perfect instrument to subvert online expression in Bangladesh.
Senior journalists Ashik Chowdhury, Mostafa Babul, Neamul Kabir Sajal, Abtab Khan Shawon took different sessions while Swadheen Chowdhury moderated sessions and group works during the day-long workshop.