Article | Open Access
Re-Conceptualizing Safety of Journalists in Bangladesh
Abstract: Journalists are currently facing a multitude of threats. Commonly, these are considered in terms of harassment and bodily harms such as incarceration and murder of journalists. In the Bangladeshi case we argue that the parameters for evaluating what constitutes safety for journalists go beyond conventional wisdom. On the basis of in-depth interviews of 23 Bangladeshi journalists, we argue that the concept of journalists’ safety has three intertwined dimensions. First, journalists’ safety incorporates avoiding bodily harm (imprisonment, enforced disappearance, and so forth), and harassment, as well as economic and career threats. Second, in order to remain safe, journalists undertake various tactics including compromising the objectivity of news in a regime where security apparatus and pro-government journalists work in tandem to surveil and intimidate non-partisan journalists. Third, the tactics used by journalists decrease public faith in the media and the media can no longer play a watchdog role. We argue that one needs to reconceptualize the safety of journalists within these three intertwined dimensions.
Keywords: authoritarianism; Bangladesh; democracy; hybrid regime; journalism; journalists’ safety
© Mubashar Hasan, Mushfique Wadud. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.