Positioning the Media of Bangladesh: Analyzing Current Incidents

Issue, National

By Ali Ahsan Zonaed

You may be living in the dark if you say that you do not know about the media which is widely recognized as the ‘fourth estate’ in the modern times. Fourth estate most commonly indicates to the news media; especially the press. The notion that the press is the fourth estate rests on the idea that the media functions in such a way to serve the people’s interest and stands as a critical analyzer of the government activities. I do not want to bother you by the description of media’s definition. Just to remind you again that the media is defined as the means of communication, as radio and television, newspapers and magazines that reach or influence people widely. Other than the two types of media (electronic media and print media), there has been an influential and newly addressed media tagged as social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and so on.
This article will focus to describe the position of media especially of electronic media and press media in the light of current events which is happening in our country, ‘Bangladesh’. Explaining the position of media is not a very suitable job because it is the job of media to explain other’s position.
It is undeniable to declare that media has a huge influence over the thought of people. Media itself has this power to shape the ideas and thoughts of people. For instance, we can bring light to a horrible event in the Second World War. It was an evening in the USA during the Second World War. There were tensions of war in the air. Radio was the means of communication then. There was news of war invasion in the radio that time which panicked the people severely. Many a people lost their lives in that day. But, after a while, it did explore that it was just a play of which’s introduction was missed by the most of the people. The event is just a momentarily step to engage you to the fact that what media is capable of.
Practically, in Bangladesh, the most controversial arena is media especially for its recent time information terrorism. Let us get back to the events primarily achieved the attention of the media in the mentioned period. We can start with the existing political tensions between the government of ’14 party alliance’ lead by Bangladesh Awami League (BAL) and the opposition ’20 party alliance’ lead by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). Our country is facing a lot of destructive events because of the political clashes regularly occurring between these parties.
Our media is told not to be successfully crossed the boundary of supporting or having particular hidden political agenda. There is the presence of a strong supportive role of the media either for the government or for the opposition. It does not matter if a media support a particular political party when this is their editorial or terrestrial principle. We can say for example- The Daily Songram as the spokesman of Bangladesh Jamaat E Islami (BJI), The Daily Jonokontho as the spokesman of Bangladesh Awami League (BAL) and The Daily Dinkal as the spokesman of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). But, when a media claims itself to be the news bearer on the basis of neutrality and keep a special hidden agenda upfront when publishing news, it becomes the most dangerous challenge to face for the people.
Alongside the particular agenda of the media, the truth is that there is a trend of our political parties to have media to back their unfair and illegal activities.
It will be easy to grasp the psychology of our political parties if we see the timing of the opening of new private channels in our country.
Now we can sink our eyes on some events where the different colors of media appear. At the very first, we can start with the Skype Scandal of the Justice of International War Crime Tribunal where it was prevalent that the accused justice was engaged with some illegal activities like speaking about the judgments before it were given. The Daily Amar Desh became the first to bring it at the very broad daylight. The irony was that the justice could not handle the event by telling the truth that it was not him who was engaged because it would not have been the truth if he would say so. We, then clearly saw a different view of some media who did not condemn the justice rather they were so busy to justify the rights of the editor of ‘The Daily Amar Desh’ to publish such kind of news. It was the month of our liberation, December, 2012. It was frequent on the then talk show of TV channels like Channel 71, ATN Bangla and so on to find out the way how to give punishment to that editor for publishing the Skype Scandal. The leading printing media like The Daily Prothom Alo, The Daily Star also were talking about the rights of publishing that kind of sensitive news. The point what I want to make here is that the media can influence tremendously to have your focus on the way they want. The focus of the media should have been on the news whether it was true or not and how dangerous it is if this happens frequently that the justice planning of a predefined judgment whatever the investigation says.
Another debate which shook the country and showed us again the different colors of media was the uprising of Gonojagoron Moncho and Hefajot E Islam in 2013. The Daily Amar Desh, Naya Diganta, Diganta TV and Islamic TV here, played the role of the supportive media of Hefajot E Islam and The Daily Prothom Alo, The Daily Star, Channel 71, ATN News and others were acting as the supportive media of Gonojagoron Moncho. The greatest debate circled around the supportively and oppositely force of the liberation war which made the basic ground of the uprising of Gonojagoron Moncho. On the contrary, the question of insulting Islam and the Prophet Mohammad (SM) by some organizers of the Gonojagoron Moncho created the basic platform for Hefajot E Islam. The people of our country, again, became perplexed by the role of the media. And, then, we saw the intervention of the government which stopped the circulation of the Daily Amar Desh and the broadcasting of the Diganta TV and Islamic TV.
Another thing to understand is the intensity of news against the government or in the support of the government. Before the questioned election of 5th January’14, we can see the intensity of the news of media. It was clear before the election that that election was going to be a matter of joke. I can challenge you that if you can perceive the intensity of news, then you just watch over the news before the undone election of 2007 and the news before the debatable election of 2014. Before the election of 2007, the Daily Prothom Alo and the Daily Star were very vocal on the issues of a fair election and highly criticized the then BNP led government. But in 2014, they were just focusing on the political clashes and tensions. It was mildly written on their subeditorial in the month of December’13 that the election had to be occurred to continue the constitutional obligation.
Look at the other aspects like when all the media was vocal on the issue of 7murder in Narayangonj which compelled the government to take steps. You can get examples from the terrible killing of Bishwojeet where all the media highlighted the event which caused the criminals punished by death penalty.
It is sorrowful but true that the mainstreaming media’s are losing their credibility. But, still, they have a huge influence over the ideas of the people. If media tries to hide any real fact and express the fake or propagated news, the impact will no longer return to the good of the nation. So, our media needs to be more vocal to utter the truth which will ensure the public faith, the popularity of media and the smooth progress of our country.