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Developing alternatives to conventional media May 9, 2008

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I was listening to a talk show few days back where the chairman of Public Service Commission, was telling that the survey they have conducted on quota system for Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) has been given to the journalists and it was hoped that the journalists would summarize and discuss it in the papers and TV channels. But that didn’t happen. Public Service Commission (PSC) is also arranging seminars in the capital and different regional cities on the survey report. But they are thinking but yet have not given it to the web site. This indicates a sad outlook of our top executives about the power and potentiality of the internet. The issue of quota system gripped our young generation throughout the country and PSC made them dependent on the conventional media to be informed about that!

Few months back Dr. Akbar Ali Khan, Chairman of the Regulatory Reform Commission was of the opinion to disclose his proposals on the reform in the internet and suggested the government accordingly. We still don’t know about the content and the progress of the reform commission report.

After devastating Sidr, millions of dollars of donation in cash and kind were committed and part of it received by the Bangladesh government. One of the very remarkable contribution was made by an unknown philanthropist of 139 million dollars (Tk 900 crore). We are in the dark, how the money was spent and most important of all, how are the victims of Sidr, how far
they were rehabilitated and to what extent govt extend the support- all the information could be displayed in the internet and different ministries including the information ministry could play vital roles in this regard.

The present government is promulgating the ‘Right to information ordinance’ but this information only will be available on payment. But some basic information should be available to the common people without any complexity and in original form. For that internet is the answer for both public and private organizations.

Recently International day of freedom of information was observed where freedom of expression was highlighted. In a seminar. The Law Adviser Hasan Arif advocates for strengthening the power of Press Council but the journalist leaders resented to the idea saying that it will curtail the freedom of expression. They also said that the idea goes against the spirit of the day.

The government is feeling stressed may be because the news and views expressed in the media is gradually going against the interest of the government. Curtailing the freedom of the press would not be the answer. It is not clear to me why a temporary caretaker government is so concerned with the press and press freedom.An alternative way to reach to the people would be to utilize the internet to its full as a way to convey the news and information and to have a direct communication with them for the present and future government..

Blogging may also be used to establish rapport with the citizens. In many countries, public officials and political leaders have their own blogs. It will not be a bad idea one or more of our advisers to have their own blogs. I shall be pleased if Dr. Hussain Zilur Rahman take the lead role.

Blog in general is also becoming an important way of expression for the citizens of a country. Both government and political leaders should take note of their opinion and recognize their ideas. A time will come, when important bloggers will also be invited to the state and political functions of a country.

An ordinary citizen


1. Rezwan - May 9, 2008

Take the example of Malaysia where Mahathir Mohammad and Anwar Ibrahim are actively blogging. Some good bloggers like Jeff Ooi became MP in the recent election.

Bangladeshi politicians (and civic society leaders) need to be more internet savvy and interactive. Or are they afraid of being accountable?

2. bdoza - May 9, 2008

The other day, I was listening to Asif Saleh of ‘Dristipat’ in a talk show on ETV conducted by Samina Jaman discussing the Women’s Developmental Policy and difficulties in implementing it. His ideas were prudent and thoughtful.

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