From government secretaries and public servants to civil society leaders and journalists, P4D’s work at the institutional level has helped national organisations bolster capacity building on social accountability tools (SATs). As part of P4D’s mission to promote the understanding and use of SATs among citizens, our work with the National Institute of Mass Communication (NIMC) under the Ministry of Information has played a vital role in ensuring local journalists have the knowhow to report on and convey important information about these policy tools to the public.
Since 2019, the NIMC has been working with P4D to develop and implement Strategic Communication on Social Accountability Tools to Ensure Good Governance trainings. They first began working with District Information Officers and later with journalists from P4D's 21 project districts. In total, they have trained over 800 journalists in the last year alone, and their influence goes well beyond the trainings. As part of their work with journalists, the NIMC encouraged and supported trainees in reporting on the social accountability tools on their respective platforms (radio, newspapers, and television). These efforts resulted in hundreds of stories being published or produced on the key SATs.
Following P4D and the NIMC’s final journalist trainings in May of 2022, which brought the total number of NIMC journalist trainings on Strategic Communication to 27 (21 for district-level journalists, 2 for female journalists, and 4 for audio broadcasters), the NIMC hosted a Media Award Ceremony on 31 July 2022 to honour journalists whose work had been particularly impactful. At the event, 20 journalists were recognised for their contribution to promoting social accountability through their work on the National Integrity Strategy (NIS), the Right to Information Act (RTI), Citizen’s Charters (CC), the Grievance Redress System (GRS), and the Annual Performance Agreement (APA).
The event and competition were the culmination of the two-year partnership between the NIMC and P4D. This final component of the activity’s design was to encourage local journalists to apply the skills they had learned and to continue their good work in promoting accountability mechanisms and integrity in news outlets throughout the country. In total, the jury, composed of members from the NIMC, Cabinet Division, and a few senior journalists from Bangladesh Television and Bangladesh Betar (Bangladesh Radio), reviewed 300 submissions. After a comprehensive evaluation, the jury identified 20 awardees including 4 journalists in the video category, 7 journalists in the print media category, and 9 journalists in the audio category (see following page for the complete list).
200 senior and mid-level journalists from both print and electronic media attended the ceremony, including representatives from the Cabinet Division of the Government of Bangladesh, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the National Insitute of Mass Communication, the European Union Delegation to Bangladesh, the British Council of Bangladesh, and Platforms for Dialogue.
During the event, participants emphasised the important role journalists play to promote good governance and accountability in the country and thanked P4D for including journalists in their training programme. Ms Ayesha Akther, Joint Secretary Cabinet Division and the Project Director of P4D highlighted the key role journalists can plan to further strengthen governance mechanisms in Bangladesh. She also thanked the NIMC for their dedication and hard work.
Mr Hans Lambrecht, First Secretary (Team Leader–Education, Human Development & PFM) from the European Union Delegation to Bangladesh expressed his optimism about the training outcome and shared his hope to see more journalists committed to promoting social accountability tools at all levels of the country's media outlets.
Tom Miscioscia, Country Director British Council of Bangladesh, stated, "I am delighted to be here with you to celebrate the result of capacity-building efforts of information officers and journalists in 21 Districts. P4D's partnership with the NIMC started in 2019 with expert support from another UK organisation, Government Communication Service International (GCSI)." He continued to express how this educational partnership between the NIMC and P4D has shown tangible results and emphasised how important it is for journalists to promote the effective engagement and participation of citizens and civil society in government decision-making and accountability mechanisms.
The event concluded with cultural events and was later publicised in several media outlets including newspapers, online news platforms, and TV, further spreading the important message that promoting social accountability mechanisms and integrity in public and private life in Bangladesh matters to the public.
While this event represents the success of the Strategic Communications Trainings, P4D's partnership with the NIMC has not only developed journalists' capacity but has also significantly strengthened the institutional capacity of the media. Because of the positive feedback from the project's stakeholders, the NIMC is currently working with P4D to develop an additional work plan prior to the project's closure. This will focus on strategic communications with the Cabinet Division to continue raising awareness of the SATs after the P4D project comes to a close.
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.