Marking the International Anti-corruption Day (IACD 2019), TI Bangladesh called upon the government to ensure a conducive environment for prevention of corruption in achieving inclusive sustainable goal and implementation of the promised 'zero tolerance' against corruption. At the same time, the prime minister's declaration of "no one will be exempted" should be implemented in order to secure the real benefits of the ongoing anti-corruption campaign, added the anti-graft watchdog.
The demands were made in weeklong diverse set of events to mark the IACD 2019 at both the national and local level. With the theme ‘Inclusive Sustainable Development: Together Against Corruption’, the versatile IACD celebration started with the 2nd National Anti-Corruption Moot Competition 2019 at the national level. TIB-inspired YES and YES friend’s members under Committees of Concerned Citizens (CCCs) in 45 locations of the country at the local level observed the day through various programmes which included rallies, discussion meetings, human chains with the local administration, information fairs, awareness campaigns and discussion meetings demanding enabling environment for the anti-corruption fighters to strengthen the movement.
At the national level, the day started with a media dialogue on Challenges to Investigative Journalism in the perspective of media capture in Bangladesh, in participation with representatives and journalists from Print, Electronic and Online Media, academicians, NGO officials and experts. Organised by TIB at its central office in the capital, TIB Director (Outreach & Communication) Sheikh Manjur-E-Alam presented the keynote paper which highlighted the current challenges to investigative journalism in the context of ongoing encroachment of media in Bangladesh. Eminent journalists Professor Afsan Chowdhury and Julfikar Ali Manik discussed as the Panelists at the programme. Ombudsperson of TIB and eminent writer Professor Dr. Syed Manzoorul Islam presided over the programme while TIB Executive Director Dr. Iftekharuzzaman moderated the dialogue.
Recognizing the growing challenges of investigative journalism, the discussants stressed on tackling the impediments through ensuring complete professionalism and embracing digital platforms alongside others. At the same time, they also called upon the government to amend draconian provisions of `Digital Security Act 2018’ and other unfavorable policies that hinder investigative journalism and take necessary steps to create conducive environment for the journalists. Acknowledging the role of journalists in identifying corruption, Professor Dr. Syed Manzoorul Islam said, “All journalists are investigative journalists. But due to adverse circumstances, investigative journalism had to be specialized." Dr. Manzoorul Islam urged journalists to not to take their jobs as a mere profession but approach it with passion. Dr. Iftekharuzzaman said, “investigative journalism has become riskier these days in Bangladesh. However, the journalists need to survive the risks without compromising the quality and ethics of journalism even under pressure.” To tackle the challenges, Dr. Zaman emphasized on ensuring professional excellence through transparency, accountability and integrity.
At the end of the dialogue, Dr. Iftekharuzzaman announced the winners of Investigative Journalism Award 2019 where the entries were evaluated in the light of journalist’s effort and success in exposing administrative irregularities and mismanagement and institutional and systematic corruption. The winners of the awards can be found here. Awards were given under four categories – Print Media (Local), Print Media (National), Electronic Media (Report), and Electronic Media (Documentary). Each award winning journalist and team was awarded with a cheque worth BDT 1 lac, a crest and a certificate of honor in each category.
Included among the several awaiting announcements that made the IACD 2019 observance particularly extraordinary were the announcements of the winners of 14th Anti-Corruption Cartoon Competition 2019. In the afternoon, prizes were distributed amongst the cartoonists who participated in the Anti-Corruption Cartoon Competition 2019. The winners of the awards can be found here. Best 6 cartoonists were awarded with prize money, crests and certificates while 38 Cartoonists were selected as ‘Special Mentions’ who will be awarded with certificates. The competition attracted a total of 478 entries from 254 youth cartoonists in two groups: Group-A (Age 13-18 years) and Group B (19-25 years) from around the country.
At the award giving ceremony, Ms. Refika Hayta, Deputy Head of Mission, Danish Embassy; Ms. Suzanne Mueller, Deputy Head of Mission, Switzerland Embassy; Mohamed Yusuf, Governance Adviser, DFID were present as Special Guests. Dr. Fakrul Alam, Member, Board of Trustees, TIB presided over the programme while Dr. Iftekharuzzaman moderated the ceremony. Among others, prominent cartoonist and Editor of UNMAD magazine, and one of the judges of the competition also spoke at the program. To view the winning cartoons: http://bit.ly/36l2AqP. With the 58 winning cartoons of the Competition, the distinguished guests at the award-giving ceremony inaugurated an Anti-Corruption Cartoon Exhibition 2019 at the Zainul Gallery-1, Faculty of Fine Art, University of Dhaka. The exhibition continued up to 15 December from 12.00 PM-7.00 PM (Friday 10 AM-7 PM).
Earlier, on 8 December, TIB inspired youth volunteers (YES, YES friends) along with TIB staff, representatives of other anti-corruption groups, voluntary organizations formed human chains marking IACD across all the 45 CCC areas including the capital simultaneously. At the human chain, Dr.Iftekharuzzaman labeled this IACD as different pointing towards the honorable prime Minister’s declaration of `zero tolerance’ against corruption, no exemption of any corrupt, conducting anti-corruption drive from the ruling party itself. Terming the declaration as the manifestation of political will against corruption, Dr. Zaman called upon the relevant government institutions including Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to utilize the declaration in curbing corruption.