Dialogue on security and capacity building of coastal journalists : Environment Journalism is a Basic Factor of Sustainable Development


Dhaka, 19 February 2020: Local journalists of the coastal area work on self-motivation to save the environment which is one of the basic factors of sustainability of the whole nation. Because they work as the vanguard to save the environment without their own benefit. Today the speakers said this in a dialogue titled “Prospects and Challenges of Environment Journalism” at CIRDAP Auditorium, Dhaka.
The dialogue is jointly organized by Journalists Network of Bengal Delta and COAST Trust. Climate and Environment expert Dr. Atiq Rahman of BCAS, Syeda Rizwana Hasan of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), Mr. Shamsuddoha, Chief Executive of CPRD, Professor Ahmed Kamruzzaman Mazumder, Joint Secretary of BAPA spoke in the dialogue where local journalists from 5 coastal districts (Cox’s Bazar, Bhola, Jhalkathi, Pirojpur and Bagerhat) were present. Mustafa Kamal Akanda, Director of COAST Trust chaired the dialogue which is moderated by Mr. Manash Ghosh, Senior News Editor of ATN Bangla.
Barkat Ullah Maruf, Joint Director of COAST presented the Keynote paper where he raised 2 points about the issue i.e. 1. the national media houses who the local journalists work for should play the primary role to build their capacity and 2. Security of the local environment journalists should be ensured. Non-government organizations also could play a role in this regard.
Dr. Atiq Rahman said in his speech, the local journalists should be trained with scientific conscience and good writing capacity. If they can do it, nobody will be able to ignore their writing anymore. He also said, the Bengal delta is the second largest place of waterflow after Amazon delta. We need to rely on the local level journalists if we want to make this great resource sustainable. We need to take care of them through ensuring security and build their capacity.
Ms. Syed Rizwana Hasan said, we are lawyers and we feel sheltered by law when our work goes against some influential persons whose work are harmful for environment. But when we see they violate the court order and carry on with their environment degradation projects, we feel risk to go on.
Mr. Shamsuddoha said in his speech, environment journalists are at risk not because they are against the land grabbers or godfathers. They are unpopular because they challenge the mainstream development narratives which is not environment friendly, where growth is the only key of development. He said, development narrative don’t see a forest financially profitable and that’s why they prefer a factory to be established in place of the forest.
Mr. Manash Ghosh said, we think a network of the local environment journalists could protect them from all the risks and we are working for this.
Mustafa Kamal Akanda said, the non-government organizations have been patronizing the local journalists particularly in the coastal area of Bangladesh for a long time and they will keep doing this. Environment journalists are the key players to achieve the SDG, he added.