The NIMC Media Award 2023 was held on February 27th to honour Bangladeshi media professionals who promote good governance. The event marked the culmination of a three-year partnership between the National Institute of Mass Communications (NIMC) and the British Council's Platforms for Dialogue (P4D) project to build the capacity of media professionals on social accountability tools (SATs) and encourage them to promote good governance through their platforms. The Minister of Information and Broadcasting joined as the chief guest.
Media plays a crucial role in establishing good governance. It helps keep the government accountable and promotes transparency by reporting on government activities. Media can investigate corruption, report on government spending, and highlight governance issues. Media also has the power to foster public participation in the democratic process by providing a platform for public debate and discussion.
P4D is working to improve good governance and engage civil society organizations (CSOs) and citizens in government accountability mechanisms. The media has been a vital component of this work. P4D is working in partnership with the Cabinet Division and the European Union to enhance transparency and accountability in public governance in Bangladesh which corresponds to the EU-Bangladesh ‘Strengthening Democratic Governance’ framework from the EU Multi-Annual Indicative Programme for 2014-2020. P4D's initiative is increasing awareness of citizen rights, promoting democratic ownership, and supporting government officials to improve accountability and responsiveness.
Since 2019, the NIMC has been working with P4D to develop and implement trainings on Strategic Communication and SATs. They have trained over 1,500 media professionals to date, and their influence goes well beyond the trainings. The NIMC has encouraged and supported trainees from the Upazila and district levels to the national level to report on SATs on their respective platforms, resulting in hundreds of stories being published or produced.
In 2023 alone, the NIMC has trained 90 journalists from national-level print and electronic media. As a result, journalists submitted over 150 published pieces related to good governance and accountability tools for award nomination this year. A jury board consisting of senior media professionals, government officials, and media educators selected the winners. The NIMC Media Award 2023, held at the institution’s Sheikh Russel Auditorium, was awarded to 10 media professionals from highly reputable press houses in three categories: print, audio, and video. The Honourable Minister of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Dr Hasan Mahmud, MP, presented the awards as the Chief Guest. Mr Mahmudul Hossain Khan, Secretary Coordination & Reforms Wing of the Cabinet Division, Ms Ayesha Akther, Joint Secretary Cabinet Division and Project Director of P4D, Mr Tom Miscioscia, Country Director of the British Council, Ms Fani Farmaki, Programme Manager, e-Governance, and Mr Arsen Stepanyan, Team Leader of P4D were present as Guests of Honour. Ms Shahin Islam, ndc, Director General of NIMC chaired the event.
Mr Tom Miscioscia thanked the NIMC for their effort and contribution to building the capacity of media professionals to promote good governance practices in Bangladesh and emphasised the significance of gender inclusivity in the process. Ms Fani Farmaki passionately expressed her views on the power of storytelling as a communication tool and how writing with impact can incite change. She highlighted that objective and independent reporting on social accountability fosters mutual accountability by adding a multiplying effect through public awareness. Ms Fani was moved to see that project beneficiaries are applying the skills they acquired through the training to raise citizen awareness and serve as a bridge between the government and the people.
The Chief Guest, Dr Hasan Mahmud, acknowledged the deep-rooted association of Bangladesh with the British Council and its contributions towards language, education, and culture over the past seven decades. He assured the audience that the government of Bangladesh is committed to instilling integrity, accountability, and good governance practices to serve the nation. He added that the project is helping inform citizens of the benefits available to them at government offices and how they can use SATs to improve their quality of life. Mr Mahmudul Hossain Khan, Secretary Coordination & Reforms Wing of the Cabinet Division, commented that not only is it important for the public to be aware of how to utilise SATs but also for government officials to fully adopt them in order to implement their benefits to the fullest.
Later, Ms Shahin Islam, ndc, event Chair thanked everyone and reiterated the NIMC’s commitment to a transparent and developed Bangladesh. The award ceremony was followed by a cultural performance where the youth-led Pidim Theatre Group performed a thematic musical written about social accountability tools.
The effective partnership between P4D and NIMC is an important example of how government agencies and civil society can work together to promote dialogue and communication between citizens and government officials at all levels. By facilitating active engagement of the media in discourse on transparency, accountability, and citizen rights, P4D is helping to strengthen democracy and good governance in Bangladesh.
This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Platforms for Dialogue and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.