In Bangladesh, DW Akademie helps integrate journalism classes at national universities into the media industry. The aim is to improve the standards of journalistic reporting.
News coverage in Bangladesh is very politically charged and polarizing, with the media favoring either the ruling party or the opposition. Independent, unbiased journalism is rare. The choice of topics is 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.
Critical reporting is under threat because journalists are intimidated or attacked, or in some cases, even tortured and murdered. Since the beginning of 2015, five bloggers labeled atheists have been brutally murdered because they dared to criticize the rise of religious extremism. Many journalists now censor themselves. Media representatives, opposition politicians and the NGO Transparency International say that a recent media law passed in August 2014 has restricted press freedom even more. As a result, people in Bangladesh have restricted access to information.
DW Akademie in Bangladesh focuses 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. This is why DW Akademie cooperates with the two largest regional universities, Rajshahi and Chittagong.
At the same time, DW Akademie also supports a network of Bangladeshi universities. Members of the network provide each other with information on trends and best practice examples in journalism training. An online platform is being developed together with the non-governmental organization Article 19 to provide all journalists in Bangladesh with background information on sensitive topics such as media ethics, digital security and the legal framework for the media.
As of 2018, DW Akademie has also been working with the Rohingya people, an ethnic group seeking refuge in the country, and is training them to work as camp reporters in a cooperation with Community Radio Naf.
Since August 2017, more than 700,000 Rohingya have fled western Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh. The Rohingya people are not recognized by Myanmar or Bangladesh. They have been persecuted and killed, and many of their villages have been burned down. The United Nations has condemned the ongoing persecution of the Rohingya in Myanmar as ethnic cleansing.
The majority of the refugees currently live in camps where they are given protection and basic supplies from aid organizations and the Bangladeshi authorities. In the refugee camp Kutupalong near Cox's Bazar, some Rohingya refugees and volunteers from the community radio station Naf are working together on articles and reports in a joint program that enjoys the support of DW Akademie.
Funding: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), German Foreign Office (AA)
Program Director: Priya Esselborn
Locations: Rajshahi, Chittagong, Dhaka, Cox's Bazar
Main focus: Qualification, civic engagement, participation of disadvantaged groups, (local) participatory media services and community media, journalism education / development of curriculum, business models and viability, professional skills and journalism networks