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International News

"Expatriate Journalist and Freedom Fighter Delwar Jahid Emphasize Vital Role of Media in Bangladesh's Democratic Journey"
Dhaka, September 15, 2023 - In a recent webinar organized by the Election Monitoring Hub of the Bangladesh North American Journalists Network, Delwar Jahid, a prominent expatriate journalist, researcher, and heroic freedom fighter, emphasized the crucial role journalists play in the democratic journey of their country. Jahid underscored that journalists are not just conveyors of information but also the guardians of truth, advocates of transparency, and sentinels of democracy. With the upcoming elections in Bangladesh, the role of journalists as election observers will be of paramount importance, as they shoulder multifaceted responsibilities.
During the webinar, speakers stressed the need to establish and ensure an impartial, credible, and inclusive electoral process, allowing citizens to exercise their fundamental right to elect their representatives.
The online discussion took place on a Friday morning in Bangladesh and was hosted from Central Alberta, Canada. It was presided over by Delwar Jahid, the president of the organization, a Canadian expatriate writer, researcher, human rights organizer, and special project committee chairperson of the 'Step to Humanity Association.'
Notable participants in the discussion included Abu Morshed Chowdhury, President of Cox's Bazar Chamber of Commerce, and a prominent social activist and educationist. Also present were Dr. Anwar Zahid, former director of Bangladesh Rural Development Academy (BARD) and registrar of the University of Britain; Ali Akbar Masum, Chief Executive of the Adhikar Foundation; Md. Sajjad Hossain, Deputy Chief Reporter of the Bangladesh News Agency (BASS); Yasmin Rima, a  journalist, and Shamsul Habib, a journalist from the daily Jugantar.
Abu Morshed Chowdhury emphasized the importance of establishing a robust mechanism for fair elections within a democratic state system, stressing that Bangladesh's elections should align with the ideological spirit of the liberation war and not be influenced by domestic or foreign interests.
Dr. Anwar Jahid highlighted the multifaceted challenges faced by journalists during elections, including violence, and called for the publication of news in a fair and balanced manner.
Ali Akbar Masum discussed the challenges faced by journalists' livelihoods, particularly in a capitalist corporate system, and called for reforms in the political system to address self-interest conflicts.
Sajjad Hossain emphasized the need for professionalism and impartiality within the administration to conduct fair elections in today's interconnected age.
Yasmin Rima stressed the importance of proper training for journalists and election observers and advocated for a separate roadmap and budget for polling in high-risk areas.
The webinar also saw participation from various individuals, including Agriculturist Moazzem Hossain, the general secretary of Canada's 'Step to Humanity Association,' Khairul Ahsan Manik, the vice president of the Bangladesh North American Journalists Network, teacher Shirin Ferdosi, Esrar Zahid Khosru, Syfur Hasan, Md. Rafat Hossain, and trainee lawyers Aminul Islam and Ivana Hossain.
The speakers highlighted the vital role monitoring plays in ensuring transparency, impartiality, and fairness in Bangladesh's elections. They emphasized that election observation is a powerful tool for upholding democratic principles and protecting citizens' rights. Monitoring various stages of the electoral process, from voter registration to vote counting, is crucial for this purpose.