Bangladesh: National and regional media professionals discuss humanitarian reporting
"Give a voice to voiceless and go beyond the headlines", "Personalize and humanize the stories", "Media should be a vehicle for change", "We have a responsibility to also tell positive stories to counter the negativism around certain issues such as migration" said journalists from 11 countries across Asia and the Pacific who gathered in Dhaka, Bangladesh, to discuss humanitarian reporting in emergencies and crisis. The conference was jointly organized by the Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) and the ICRC.
Journalists from Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand deliberated about challenges to responsible and humanitarian journalism and threats and opportunities in the age of new media and innovation. Questions and comments from the audience - including students from journalism faculties and representatives of national and international humanitarian organizations – enriched the debate.
"It is important for journalists and humanitarian workers to interact as we regularly meet on the ground," said the head of ICRC delegation in Bangladesh, Mr Ikhtiyar Aslanov, while welcoming the participants. "These events aim to give media professionals the space to discuss, debate and deliberate on the constraints and challenges they face while reporting from situations of conflict and violence."
"Workshops with media professionals have been promoted by the ICRC in Bangladesh and we have learned more about reporting on humanitarian emergencies and crises," said Ms Angur Nahar Monty, president of DCAB.
The event was inaugurated by Mr Muhammed Shahriar Alam, the State Minister for Foreign Affairs, who underscored the importance of journalists' role in crisis: "We should be mindful that reporting on an emergency is not like ordinary reporting as journalists can reshape the situation in times of violence and crisis."
The conference was wrapped-up with participants presenting their recommendations and experiences on how media and humanitarian organizations can work better together in order to address the humanitarian consequences of natural/man-made disasters, conflict and other situations of violence.
This conference was the seventh regional media conference that the ICRC has conducted in Asia since 2006 and the second edition in Dhaka.
The ICRC has been providing humanitarian services for over 150 years and is present in more than 80 countries.
In Bangladesh, the ICRC helps people affected by violence, promotes international humanitarian law, enhances physical rehabilitation services and supports the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS).