The Media of Bangladesh A Twofold Distress of People

Issue, National

By Ruman Hossain

What do you think about media? Is it a medium of information disbursement or a tool to delivering informative persecution? The media comprises both of them in the diversity of time, culture, civilization, authority, society and country. The well-known adage about the media reflects on the social echo such it says that ‘Media is the mirror of the society’. The mostly abhorred by world and loved by Germans chancellor of Germany Adolf Hitler was repeatedly saying in his ‘Mein Camp’ about the media fraudulence of the Jews in that time. On the other hand the blessings of the media is unutterable, unimaginable and mostly for public interest throughout the world. The variety in media from their contribution perspective can be bilateral; the eulogistic of incumbent authority and the watch dog of government activities for the peoples concern. In the democratic system, the duty and responsibility of the media is very decisive which this proverbarticulates clearly that ‘Democracy is where dog is barging not Bite’. Here the most act of barging though goes to the opposition party but that expresses and reaches to the public through media. In spite of being the lower number of newspapers readers; the TV viewers and radio listeners are both high in Bangladesh. Additionally the influence of the media on public mind is very high which most of the cases the politicians of Bangladesh use for their party interest.
The history of the media shows both of the sides of a coin in its contribution on the society. Though the exact history of the newspapers is obscure, the mostly known inception of the newspaper goes to the pocket of Germany. As Phil Barber noted, ‘The first printed forerunners of the newspaper appeared in Germany in the late 1400’s in the form of news pamphlets or broadsides, often highly sensationalized in content’. (Sourse:Cambridge, media of Bangladesh refers to the print, broadcast and online mass media which are available in Bangladesh. The Constitution guarantees press freedom and freedom of expression within “reasonable restriction”, though some media outlets have been harassed. The history of media in Bangladesh inclined with the birth of the country. The influence of the media on its birth was great and unforgettable. The wave of historical scenario of Bangladesh makes the fluctuation of the role of media. But the most controlling phase on media is going now.  The whole control on media is not only the full of public suffering of this country but also the same level of fraudulences of the media is also responsible for the public grief in this country.
We may be heard the term yellow journalism. This writing by a notable writer would be enough to recognize what is a yellow journalism!  ‘How carefully do we read headlines? Compare the following headlines from The Daily Star, the most popular news daily in Bangladesh: Islamist parties threaten to call hartal (strike) for Dec 20(Dec 15, 2012), and Bam Morcha mulls hartal (strike) for Jan 16(January 16, 2013). One does not need to delve into rocket science to notice the subtle changes in the messages being broadcast to an unsuspecting audience. The latter headline creates the perception that ‘Bam Morcha’, an alliance of the political left in Bangladesh, is peaceful while in the latter, the stereotypically ‘threatening’ Islamist parties are seemingly planning violent action.
Similar trends are noticeable in leading Bangla news dailies Prothom Alo, Kalerkonto and Jugantor and prominent online English news portals such as and among others. Such is the trend among the major media outlets in Bangladesh, a country which has been ranked 129 out of a list 179countries by the Reporters without Borders’ Press Freedom Index for 2011-12. The Daily Star and Prothom Alo in particular are seen as harbingers of truth and democracy in the country by many. But how could a guardian of truth flourish in a country rated 129th in terms of press freedom? What exactly could be wrong in Bangladesh?’
Another side of the media is the controlling attitudes of the incumbent government to make the media expressing what the government wishes to. The report of the well-known humanitarian organization ‘Human Rights Watch’ published in its website headlining  as ‘Bangladesh: Crackdown on Opposition, Media’(New York) 8 January,2015  and says ‘The Bangladesh government should immediately end its use of excessive force, stop arbitrary arrests of members of opposition parties, and lift restrictions on the media.’ The Asian director, Brad Adamsof this organization reported that “The government’s indiscriminate use of force, arbitrary arrests, and censorship will only inflame an already tense situation,”
The authorities have also targeted media perceived to be sympathetic to the opposition. Abdus Salam, chairman of Ekushey TV (ETV), was arrested and detained on January 7, 2015 allegedly for charges of broadcasting pornography. His arrest came one day after ETV’s broadcast of an anti-government speech by Tarique Rahman, a senior member of the BNP and the son of Zia. Shortly after the speech was broadcast, the government announced a ban on any further public dissemination, by any medium, of any political speeches by Rahman, without citing any reason. On the other hand the broadcasting policy 3014 says in Previously the same scene occurred in the fate of chennel One, Diganta TV, Islamic TV and the popular Bangla news paper ‘Amader  Somoy, and even the editor of the ‘Amader Somoy’ thrown to prison and still to be there. The blame goes to the Diganta TV and Islamic TV is to exaggerating broadcasting the demand of blasphemy by Hefajot-E- Islami, a non-political and partisan group blaming the secularist bloggers to tarnish the Prophet of Islam.
‘The broadcasting policy 2014’ on the media in Bangladesh shows some extend the awkward way to dominate the public media in the name of people’s interest. The broadcasting policy is the only way to provoke the establishing a media commission, the information minister, HasanulHaque Innu was saying in the popular program ‘TritioMatra’ in channel I TV and MahfuzAnam, a famous journalist was refuting the argument and saying that this policy will inflame to dictate the media forcefully and critically.
As I have tried to argue both sides of the media specially the Bangladeshi perspective, but the twofold issues happening in this country are subversive to the fate of the general people and not ensure the actual interest of the country. The so called patriotic newspapers, Televisions and radios are the publishers of ideology of few (secularists) as the country’s reality ignoring the life interest, aches and ideology of the majority. Thus this insidious way of the some media will result on the cleft of national unison; the running political turmoil of the country is no more exception of this duplicitous and dishonest contribution of the media in Bangladesh. Most deceitful is that against the ban on some media for honestly broadcasting the opposition’s political activities, no other media criticizes this government illegal interference on media. To protect the media on behalf of the people’s interest, the unity of media is must and public should be conscious about media role concerning the national issues.