The pressure put on the media is alarming and suicidal for democracy. Journalists will have to work with both intellectual and financial integrity to fight corruption and irregularities.
Speakers at the online seminar "Right to Information, Freedom of Speech and Investigative Journalism: Perspective Bangladesh" organised by Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) on Monday said this.
As journalists can change society, they must gain people's trust, the discussants said.
Professor Afsan Chowdhury, senior journalist and researcher; Gitiara Nasreen, professor of mass communication and journalism at the University of Dhaka; Boishakhi Television's Planning Consultant Julfikar Ali Manik; and TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman spoke at the programme.
Afsan Chowdhury said the media is not investigative anymore. "Journalists are not making the extra effort to be successful. They are not ready."
"And the media houses are not taking initiatives to train the journalists. The mass media will not be free, and media activists will fail to discharge their duties properly if we cannot break away from this trend," he said.
Gitiara Nasreen said all the media houses are providing the same information now. "As they are not performing their duties as watchdogs, people do not rely on them anymore."
"Yes, censorship, government pressure, and the Digital Security Act are hurting journalism. But at the same time the journalists must perform well," she said.
Julfikar Ali said the journalists should be honest – both intellectually and financially. "This is the strength of a journalist."
Also, TIB announced the winners of its "Investigative Journalism Awards 2020" at the programme to mark the International Day for Universal Access to Information.
Journalists won the awards in four categories: national print media, local print media, electronic media (TV report), and electronic media (TV documentary).
Daily Gramer Kagoj's Senior Staff Reporter Foysol Islam and weekly Chatgar Bani's Editor Md Selim jointly won the award in the local print media category.
Kaler Kantho's Senior Reporter Md Arifur Rahman won in the national print media category.
In the electronic media category (TV report), NTV's Senior Reporter Shafique Shahin won the prize while Channel 24's "Searchlight" bagged the award in the electronic media category (TV documentary).