UNESCO Bangladesh Journalism Award 2010 presented on World Press Freedom Day
Nazrana Chowhdury of NTV, one of the 12 private satellite television channels in Bangladesh, has won the UNESCO Bangladesh Journalism Award 2010 for the best investigative report. The winning report identifies mistakes in primary and secondary education text books.
Introduced by UNESCO's Office in Dhaka in 2008, the Award has already become one of the most prestigious journalism prizes in Bangladesh. This year's Award was presented by Abul Kalam Azad, Minister for Information and Cultural Affairs of Bangladesh, at a ceremony held on 3 May, World Press Freedom Day. The event was jointly organized by the UNESCO Dhaka Office and the Bangladesh National Commission for UNESCO, and was attended by some 100 participants.
During the award ceremony a discussion about press freedom in Bangladesh took place. It particularly focused on the issue of the security of journalists in the country and on the government's lack of concern for the violence against journalists: perpetrators of at least six assassinations of journalists over the last decade have not been brought to justice yet. Participants also criticised the government's tendency to grant licenses to media outlets sharing the same political views as it does, which hampers the development of press freedom in the country.
In response to these critics, the Minister of Information promised to attend to the issue of bringing journalists' killers to trial. "We are committed to press freedom," he said, "and believe that it can help us to rectify our mistakes." The Minister also mentioned the Right to Information Act, which would reinforce media's role in serving the public in a more meaningful way.
Derek Elias, from UNESCO's Dhaka Office, drew the attention of the audience to the challenges facing the implementation of the right to information legislation. He called upon all relevant stakeholders to ensure capacity-building of public officials, to develop an efficient information management system in compliance with requests for information, and to raise public awareness about its right to know, in order to enable people to take the full benefit of the law.
Three journalists were presented with honorary awards at the ceremony: Altab Hossain of the daily Jaijaidin, and Emaran Hossain and Ershad Komal of The Daily Star.
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