Journalism faces challenges, restrictions and censorship

Udisa Islam
Published : 10:05, May 24, 2019 | Updated : 00:15, May 25, 2019

Journalism in the 21st century faces many adversities; some say journalism is changing while others contend that though the medium is changing, journalism remains the same.
Relevant people observe that it’s important for media people to be prepared to face challenges of a new era.
At the same time, they feel that several elements, like effective unions are necessary to safeguard journalists.
Reporters without Borders, say: “Most of the 80 journalists killed in 2018 are targeted. Compared to 2017, killing has risen by 15 per cent while 348 journalists have been incarcerated.”
In media freedom ranking, Bangladesh is 146 out of 180 countries with a score of 48.62, which was 48.36 in 2017.
An international organisation called Article Nineteen says in 2018, law has been abused in 131 incidents related to freedom of expression.
For expressing opinion, 31 defamation cases were lodged, 71 cases lodged under ICT Act’s clause 57 and Digital Security Act.
Specialists say that news items shared on Facebook have very little credibility and the main challenge is to assess the information first.
Teacher of the department of journalism of the University of Dhaka, Robayet Fedous, says: “Mainstream journalism is facing a threat due to online media; there is also a dearth of critical journalism.”
I am worried about the future of journalism, added Ferdous.
Relevant people say that free media faces many hurdles.
Specialists say that unless media is free, it loses credibility.
“When journalists resort to self-censorship, media ceases to remain free.”
With a strict editorial policy, restriction of the media can be averted.
Journalists say that often they remain silent even after knowing the truth which may put them in danger if published.
Another reporter says: “When one is in danger, the office sometimes fails to provide the necessary support; in such cases, the eventual blame is put on the reporter who in a bid to save his/her job, decides to avoid controversial issues altogether.”
President of the department of journalism and mass communication at the University of Dhaka, Dr. Kaberi Gayen, says: “In Bangladesh, ‘free media’ does not carry any sense; those who want to be professional in their work often face harassment.”
If someone expects a favour in exchange of journalism, the profession suffers; the moment journalism is tied by a variety of equations, freedom of speech is compromised.
The inability to listen to criticism is putting journalism in danger; also, there is the fall in advertisement revenue, said Robayet Ferdous.
“I have never see journalism to be in such a precarious state.”
Editor of DBC TV, Zahedul Hassan Pintu, says: “If the media leaders stand by a journalist in crisis, many of the adversities can be overcome.”
Journalism leader Sohel Haider, said: “In the last one and a half years, unions have succeeded in several areas and this was due to unity. We have tried to help journalists who are not members of any union; if a journalist is linked to a union, its power increases.”