In Bangladesh, DW Akademie helps professionalize university journalism training and develop partnerships with the media industry. Other focuses incude fact-checking, verfication, digital security and rights.
News coverage in Bangladesh is politically charged and polarizing, with the media favoring either the ruling party or the opposition. Independent, unbiased journalism is rare. Topics chosen are based on the economic interests of corporate groups that support various media outlets, while state radio stations are still under the direct control of the Ministry of Information.
Many journalists censor themselves. Media representatives, opposition politicians and the non-governmental organization Transparency International say that a media law passed in August 2014 has further restricted press freedom. As a result, people in Bangladesh have limited access to information. In its 2023 World Press Freedom Index, Reporter Without Borders ranked Bangladesh at 163 out of 180 countries.
Since 2014, DW Akademie has focused on improving the quality of journalism training at universities. This also includes partnerships between journalism institutes and the country's media industry. The long term goal is to improve journalistic reporting.For this, DW Akademie supports the “Communication and Journalism Educators Network” (CJEN) which was established in 2018 to give private and state universities an opportunity to regularly discuss trends and best practices in journalism education. Another focus is on training talented students as Local Media Hub Fellows, enabling them to later produce reports from their home regions for national media organizations based in the capital, Dhaka.
Together with the feminist organization Bonhishikha- Unlearn Gender and Kotha, DW Akademie has conducted a series of workshops at universities focusing on gender and the portrayal of women in the media. An online platform was launched in 2020 with the non-governmental organization "Article 19, Bangladesh and South Asia". Four courses free of charge look at sensitive topics such as legal frameworks, media ethics, digital security and rights, and media and information literacy with a focus on fact-checking and verification. Lighthouse projects with partner media houses in and outside of Dhaka aim to improve their reporting and produce relevant content in digital formats, especially for marginalized groups. A special initiative focused on constructive journalism.
Funding: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Program Director: Priya Esselborn
Locations: Dhaka, Barishal, Khulna, Rajshahi, Chittagong
Main focus: Qualification, civic engagement, participation of disadvantaged groups, media and journalism education/curriculum development, Media Viability, professionalism and journalism networks, digital safety und rights, Media and Information Literacy with a focus on fact-checking and verification