Empowering Journalists through Data Journalism: TIB Drives Change in Media Landscape

Published: 18 May 2023

Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), in collaboration with the Department of Mass Communication & Journalism (MCJ) at Rajshahi University, recently hosted its second Workshop on Data Journalism. The workshop shed light on the untapped potential of data journalism as a powerful tool for journalists to uncover corruption, ensure accountability, and address challenges such as state overreach and self-censorship in Bangladesh.

Recognising the underutilisation of data journalism in the country, TIB is actively investing in its introduction and raising awareness. As part of this initiative, TIB has produced a comprehensive handbook in Bangla and partnered with universities to educate journalism students about the transformative impact of data journalism.

This workshop is part of TIB's broader mission to cultivate a data journalism movement in Bangladesh, equipping journalists with the necessary skills to expose irregularities and promote transparency. TIB believes that data journalism represents the most advanced form of investigative reporting, and journalists must practice this approach effectively.

The workshop selected around 50 students to participate, aiming to enhance their capacity in data journalism. The students were introduced to the fundamental principles of working with data through interactive sessions that included using Lego blocks. Gradually, they explored various aspects of data journalism, discovering how open data sources can be harnessed effectively.

The students gained insights into the potential of data journalism to uncover discrepancies and anomalies within datasets, empowering them to expose irregularities. Additionally, they received guidance on using popular data analysis and visualisation tools, such as Excel, to elevate their investigative reporting skills.

During the certificate distribution ceremony, Dr. Iftekharuzzaman, Executive Director of TIB, underscored the transformative impact of data journalism on journalism. He emphasised that data journalism streamlines the work of investigative journalists, facilitating the discovery of hidden truths. Dr. Iftekharuzzaman reiterated TIB's commitment to supporting students through similar workshops. Furthermore, he addressed the challenges faced by objective journalism in Bangladesh, highlighting the need to address the Digital Security Act, which poses a significant obstacle to press freedom.

Expressing gratitude to TIB for organising the workshop, Professor Dr. Mustak Ahmed, Chairperson of the MCJ Department at Rajshahi University, emphasised the university's recognition of data journalism as a crucial step toward shaping the future of journalism. He unveiled plans to collaborate with TIB in introducing a data journalism course into the academic curriculum.

The recently concluded workshop marks the second edition of TIB's Data Journalism Workshop, following the first workshop held in March 2023 at the Department of Journalism and Media Studies, Jahangirnagar University. TIB's initiatives aim to inspire a transformative shift in the media landscape by harnessing the power of data journalism and nurturing a new generation of investigative journalists equipped with the skills to drive transparency and accountability in Bangladesh.