Call to ensure press freedom during Covid-19 pandemic

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DHAKA, July 26, 2020 (BSS) – Acting British High Commissioner to Bangladesh H.E. Javed Patel here today emphasised on press freedom and the safety of journalists during the pandemic.

“Journalists need to be alive to communicate with the truth…We need the press freedom and safety of journalists most,” he said.

He was addressing the inaugural session of the final workshop of a series of training programmes for youth journalists tilted `Covering COVID-19: Media Training for Youth Journalists in Bangladesh’ through virtual platform ZOOM.

Citing a research of UNESCO, he said, about 112M social media posts in 64 languages relating to covid-19 were posted in last few month and 40 per cent of those were from unreliable sources.

One third of the social media posts have been reported false while about 19 million tweets out of 50 million have been deemed to be manipulated, said Javed

“If you remember the public, how do they exist without information, how do they know what is the truth and what guideline to follow. Journalists are the people who can bring out the fact before the people”, Javed added.

While addressing as special guest DU PRO-VC (Academic) Dr ASM Maksud Kamal said Bangladesh is facing a cascading disaster now and that is the adverse impact of COVID-19, cyclone Amphan and flood.

And information management and picking up the right information from the infodemic towards print, electronic and social media is inevitable to address the crisis in a balanced manner, he added.

Dean of Social Sciences faculty also former Information Commissioner Professor Dr. Sadeka Halim presided over the programme while Dr. Shameem Reza from the DU Department of Mass Communication and Journalism and Moderator of the workshops also Associate Professor of DU Political Science Department Aynul Islam also addressed it.

Faculty of Social Sciences of Dhaka University (DU) and Micro-governance Research Initiative of DU arranged a series of workshop for journalists in collaboration with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), Washington DC with the support of Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and UKAID.

Hundreds of youth journalists, working as university correspondent in different universities, are taking part in these three-day long workshops, on media literacy and covering Covid-19.

The first workshop was held on July 8-10 and in the last one is being held from July 27-29 using Zoom platform with 52 campus correspondents from 15 universities.

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