It is being increasingly realised that media creates its own space. Even ordinarily speaking this is so, to say nothing of the open book era of cyber information highway and its multiple tools for engagement and interaction.
This is essentially because news, information and opinion, of their own dynamic, have a way of breaking out. Whatever fetters may be placed on news and views, the public will get its fill of it and feel of what is going around. The question is not, therefore, so much of availability and volume as of quality, authenticity and objectivity.
For, side by side with information, there can also be misinformation and disinformation waged by vested quarters who have their own dubious agenda to kick in and have them served. Thus, the news and views that would filter through to the people could be either authentic or distorted depending upon their source and the professionalism with which these are disseminated. That is exactly where it's the responsibility of the government, the corporate media sector and individual journalists to complement each other in ensuring free flow of objective information. Because such a combined approach would benefit all of them. The government everywhere has learnt that independent media is the best tool of gauging where it is going right and where wrong. The journalist community will stand to benefit from high public esteem as an authentic voice, and the media houses too should embrace the fact that 'good journalism is also good business'.
From government-controlled print and electronic media we made a radical shift to privatised media a little under four decades ago, first in modest steps then in strides. The expansion of the media, both print as well as audio-visual, has been phenomenal. This media surge is often showcased as a proof of liberalised press which, however, shouldn't be equated with the state of press freedom as such. The media in general have some way to go before meeting the dual challenge of government hold and corporate control. Some private TV channels were closed down and a couple of newspapers, too. This may have forced some of the self-censorship journalists willy-nilly submit to. They need to push boundaries.
The media is fully seized with the issue of conforming to certain ethical standards. But because of the demanding circumstances in which it works it is important that Bangladesh Press Council be given teeth as an oversight body to bring any unethical journalism to justice.
The South Asian media landscape is thriving while print media in the West faces obsolescence in the face of internet and mobile revolutions. How knowledge-based, free and inclusive the South Asian media is, not just about people in countries within the fold but also in regional terms that would determine the shape of its future.
The cinematic media which has been on a decline in the country awaits a booster from embracing digitalised format and technology. The 'female gaze' in cinema through women film directors promises to highlight gender gaps towards building a more balanced and equitable society.
The Women Development Policy has been critiqued 'as much ado about nothing' insofar as its content as equal opportunity document goes. Other contemporary issues like migrant returnees from Libya and a hark back to origins of land disputes in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) have been treated with compassion and forward-looking insights.