Professionalism and ethical practice in news reporting, in particular, in relation to coronavirus outbreak, should be given highest importance, experts said.
On Tuesday at the webinar entitled ‘Free flow of information during Pandemic’ organized by Daffodil International University (DIU), experts and professionals urged media to play more professional roles maintaining accuracy of all reports published.
Former Chief Information Commissioner of the government Professor Golam Rahman said that the media in general lack planning on covering coronavirus pandemic which he described as a major flaw in Bangladesh.
He said that at a time like the current pandemic responsible, objective and ethical journalism should be a top priority.
Citing the scenario of the global media, Dr Sehikh Shafiul Islam, head of the Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) department at the DIU pointed out that the media now must focus on responsible reporting with accurate information. “They should not provide any information that may trigger panic and mislead the public,” he added.
Shakil Ahmed Head of News at Ekattor Television and secretary of Broadcast Journalist Center (BJC) stated that journalists are at the frontline whenever such crisis happens. Absence of safety gear materials from institutional level is indeed a matter of great concern.
Lecturer of Journalism faculty at Khulna University (KU) Shariful Islam pointed that the best practice to allow flow of accurate information in the media instead of rumors to dominate news is to establish press freedom. If media is controlled, it is quite obvious that rumors will surface.
He added, “Controlling the media would not bring benefit for the society and the country.”
A teacher of journalism at the Chittagong University (CU) Mohammad Shahidul Haque said, “Because of the shutdown journalists are covering the news having access to limited resources. In fact, they also face many restrictions and so margin for error increases.”
Head of General Education (GED) department at DIU Syed Mizanur Rahman Raju has highlighted that responsible journalism with freedom is the key to fighting any crisis like the corona pandemic. Without acknowledging the role of mass media the society would suffer in the long run.
Oliur Rahman, a teacher of journalism at the Green University of Bangladesh (GUB) referred to creating more space for journalists from government to ensure building trust on the media. In any crisis responsible journalism should be number one priority.