Today, ARTICLE 19 Bangladesh and South Asia is launching Nirbhoy: a holistic web platform to bolster greater access to information on the protection of journalists and communicators in Bangladesh.
The website provides a framework for monitoring violations of freedom of expression, emergency support, and also a set of proposals for reform – a longer term means of tackling violations against journalists and communicators.
“In the current difficult situation in Bangladesh, we are striving to provide the skills and tools for communicators to better protect themselves from legal, physical and digital threats.”
We hope the platform will assist journalists and communicators from all over the country to promptly report and highlight incidents of violations. Updates on investigations can also be routinely shared, drawing attention to the need for progress in investigations.”stated Tahmina Rahman, Director of ARTICLE 19 Bangladesh and South Asia.
Shuroksha/Protected: a protection programme which seeks to create an enabling environment, empowering individuals to counteract threats through self-protection, risk-management, and tools addressing the complexity of the risks being faced.
Shamiksha/Investigation: a system for monitoring and documenting freedom of expression violations against journalists and communicators through legal analysis, public statement, annual reports and online initiatives.
Shohojogita/Support: an emergency support component for those facing imminent risk, or who have survived an attack. It includes protocols for medical, legal, and referral support.
Sangskar/Reform: a national-level advocacy initiative which will strive to better understand the roles of key institutions and their diligence in performing actions that are in line with international standards and best practices, offering concrete proposals for reform.
These four elements interact and intersect to create a holistic protection approach, creating an enabling environment for individuals and communicators to counteract threats and advocate for greater safety and justice.
The new platform also features a list of murdered journalists, which will be regularly updated, to bring visibility to the cases of those who have been slain for speaking out.
Journalists and free-thinkers have too-often been attacked in Bangladesh without consequence for the perpetrators: this platform aims to addressing the complex and urgent issue of expression in the country by creating more information as a way to promote justice.
Launching the website in Dhaka at the opening session of an ARTICLE orientation, Our right to know: their right to safety: the right to information, threatened communicators and SDGs, Alison Blake, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh said:
“The UK Government is proud of its global reputation as a pioneer and leader on open government. I am delighted that the partnership that we have built with ARTICLE 19, supported by the UK’s Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy, helps to enable journalists and communicators seeking to exercise their right to information.
Access to information is at the heart of development and democracy; as it gives individuals greater control over their own lives and a greater stake in the way they are governed.”