Bangladesh's Daily Star Stokes Ethical Debate

On June 5, while Dart Centre Asia Pacific was running its first workshop on covering trauma, war crimes and sexual violence in Bangladesh,  a terrible incident of intimate partner violence elsewhere in the country captured the attention of reporters: Hasan Sayeed brutally assaulted his wife Rumana Munzur, shoving his fingers into her eyes and blinding her.

Bangladeshi coverage of the story brought attention to the issue of intimate partner violence, but also included some ethical missteps. One of the Dart Centre workshop participants, reporter Tamanna Khan, has passed on a thoughtful article by Rifat Munim of the Daily Star reviewing the media's response. It shows both the promise and the need for a conversation on ethical trauma reporting in Bangladesh.

In our country most media houses do not have any written or institutionalised code of conduct. Neither is there any monitoring body to supervise the ethical issues in reporting. “Media houses should have institutional codes of conduct. Besides, the associations, unions or press clubs of journalists should develop self-regulatory codes and ensure that their members follow these,”says [Quarratul-Ain-Tahmina, a senior journalist at the Prothom Alo]. Concurring with Tahmina, [Shameem Reza, assistant professor of Mass Communication and Journalism at the University of Dhaka] adds, “Every journalist should be trained especially about journalistic ethics before he is appointed as a reporter.”