There are so many think-tanks and NGOs in Bangladesh, as well as government agencies. But who ensures that the media is giving equal time to the opposite view? Unless this can be ensured, the dream for building a pluralist society will remain a far-off reality.
One of the major complain about the emergency time events and happenings is that, often the authorities use ‘fear factor’ to tackle a problem. However, we have again and again said that the use of fear would not work if the aim is to give a jump-start the development and governance. Rather, the authorities should use the strength of discipline and mutual discussion/understanding to solve a problem. Over time, government was at fault in several occassion but they have corrected that. At least, there has been demonstrable evidence that government policy-makers are making an effort to respond to that need. One has realize that the beauracracy and the police administration are the same – so the first thing they do is the habitual thing – with which they are used to. That is – they opt for fear factor. But it is getting better in our opinion, but the speed could be better, off course.
Now, while the government is trying that, what about other elements of the society? Is media reporting correctly and unbiasedly about the realities on the ground?
Say for example, how many students in Dhaka University is supporting the ongoing agitation of the few students? Many would say – a very insigficant portion of the student body – may be less than 5% – are acutally supporting this while less than 1% are participating.
But how about the rest 95%? What do they do? Why don’t media talk about them? Where is the golden rule of equal time for all the viewpoints in a pluralist system?
Media never think about that.
Or may be, some would say, the silent majority do not have any programme, they do not have any opinion either, if they are asked.
We say – why not? Are they afraid of anything? The mastans of the student wings?
Or are they thinking that this current government would go away in one year time, after that it will be the same again. So, why bother going against the political forces who may do some damage to themselves or their family.
Media is bringing reports of the parents who are in jail or polatok. Their parents off course will want their child’s parole or mukti. Which parent don’t?
But how about those thousands of parents whose students are being blocked to pursue education in peace? What is the big deal with few teachers and students are under arrest at a time when country’s two former prime ministers are in jail too?
Oh, right, that is the reason. Now the politicians who are outside cannot go into agitation to free their culprit bosses from jail. So, they are feeding the minor children to do their dirty job. At the same time, they are trying to agitate some workers in the garment factories. Somebody is playing around.
One may comment that — why we are talking about all the conspiracy theories. What is the basis of all these?
Well, we have seen how people are reacting if you compare your elder in the family with Hasina or Khaleda. Their names are synonimous to a gali now.
Have you tried this? If a senior female member of your family is creating trouble (which every families have, to some extant. Similarly, every family has senior male troublemakers, too), tell them "why you are doing so and so … like Hasina or Khaleda?" See what is their response. You would be surprised.
My mother was so furious at me that she stopped talking to me for few days. hahaha. I had to convince her that she is not that bad, after all. 🙂
So, our assumption is that the society – the silent majority is prepared to go beyond our past history of bitter politics of irresponsibility. But our media is not.
Why not? You have talk to them.
Okay, okay, for example, if the government beleives this, what can they do? How come they change the mind of the journalists, if they all want to maintain the status quo?
True. The government can not demand that the journalists also follow the lead of the majority people. Journalists should do that by themselves.
But if the journalists do not do that the only thing left for the government is to make sure that the journalists are behaving professionally.
Equal time for the opposite viewpoint has to be given in the media coverage. Watchdogs, civil soceity orgs, has to be established to ensure that. Otherwise, the dream for a pluralist soceity will be far off. It will be a soceity of AL, or BNP or Right or Left. But we do not want that. We want a society that is professional, based on rule of law and allow all the people, all the viewpoint to live side by side following the law of the land.
If you thought some of the ideas are worth of your reading time, please forward it to others. If you have an ear to the columinsts in regular traditional media, please forward it to them. If you have an ear to the journalists and news editors of the electronic media, discuss it with them. Hope they would look at the suggestions and give due diligence.