Over the last decade, more than 500 journalists have lost their lives in the line of duty. 60 killings were reported worldwide in 2010 alone. Every week brings more reports of journalists and bloggers suffering from intimidation and violence while new threats are rising.
This year’s World Press Freedom Day, celebrated on 3 May from all over the world with the theme “21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers”.To mark the World Press Freedom Day,UNESCO Dhaka office has organized “UNESCO Bangladesh Journalism Award 2011”on 3rd May at the conference lounge of National Press Club, Dhaka in collaboration with implementing partner Bangladesh Centre for Development Journalism and Communication (BCDJC).Awards were given in recognition of professional, high quality investigative reporting.
Nine journalists from leading print and electronic media have received the Awards,the first two winners of the ‘UNESCO Bangladesh Journalism Award 2011’ were Mizan Chowdhury, Senior Reporter at the daily, Janakantha; and Mashudul Haque, Special Correspondent at ATN News and they were awarded with prize money while seven other awardees’ received Jury’s appreciation award for their remarkable contribution in the arena of investigative reporting."> From Print media Toufiq Maruf,Senior Reporter of The Daily Kaler Kantho,Wakil Ahmed Hiron,Staff Reporter of The Daily Samakal; Yasmin Reema, Comilla District Correspondent of Shaptahik 2000, and from Broadcast media Borhanul Haq Shamrat, Special Correspondent of ATN News; Shahnaj Munni,Additional Chief Reporter of ATN Bangla, Keramat Ullah Biplob, Special Correspondent of ATN Bangla and Sultana Rahman, Special Correspondent, Machraga Television have received the Jury’s appreciation award.
Information and Cultural Affairs Minister, Abul Kalam Azad, was present as Chief Guest and addressed the importance of investigative journalism and the significance of the role the media plays in the creation of public awareness. Mr. Azad said “We believe in freedom for all information,”
“There have been people who have said that the press is not free. But I tell you very clearly, our Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina and what we have in common, is we believe in freedom to all information.
”While addressing the awardees and the audience as the special guest of the event, Mr. Derek Elias, Head and Representative at UNESCO Dhaka Office said- “We may not consciously exercise our right to know. However, each time we pick up a newspaper, turn on the TV or radio news, or go on the Internet, the quality of what we see or hear depends on the media to give accurate and up to date information,” he further added “Obstacles in the way of our right to know may take many forms, from a lack of resources and inadequate infrastructure to deliberate obstruction.” Mr. Nayeemul Islam Khan, president of BCDJC moderated the event; beside awardees distinguished guests from different media organization, media experts, were present at the event.
World Press Freedom Day is an occasion to remember the right to promote freedom of expression as the foundation for human dignity and the cornerstone of democracy and UNESCO promotes freedom of expression and freedom of the press as a basic human right, through sensitization and different empowerment programs.