03 July 2012, Dhaka. On June 23 2012, BRAC held an informal round table discussion with various journalists from Dhaka’s most widely distributed newspapers concerning the relationship between NGOs and reporters. Notable attendees included Sanaullah, chief executive officer of ABC Radio, Riaz Ahmed, news editor of Daily Star, Nazrul Islam, special correspondent for The Independent, Munima Sultana, senior correspondent The Financial Express,and Shupriti Dhar, CEO of Just News.
The discussion was held to create clearer understanding and better modes of communication between BRAC and the news world, and also with the goal of setting the foundation for BRAC’s future media policy.
The dialogue surrounded various media issues of contemporary Dhaka, including the public perception of Dr. Muhammad Yunus and Sir Fazle Hasan Abed in Bangladesh, the sudden rise in media proliferation with reference to new TV news channels and online newspapers, their impact on quality and reliability, the bilingual conflict between English and Bangla, and how political instability affects journalism and communications.
While journalists find BRAC active in issuing press releases, one concern was that BRAC is often too confined to bureaucratic sources of information. For this reason, it has been perceived by the media that BRAC is selective about responding to questions, especially to controversial questions, often risking the possibility of raising suspicion.
All the BRAC representatives and journalists present at the discussion were unanimous in deciding that communication between the two should be more accountable, punctual, transparent, and easily accessible. BRAC Communications needs to better communicate its effectiveness as an NGO by raising awareness through creative promotions, and a greater willingness to speak freely and frequently to various media.