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Media and economic development

Despite its good performance as recorded by many growth indexes, it as been lagging behind in building necessary infrastructure for achieving the goals required to be attained by a middle-income country. Apart from weak infrastructure and the poor higher education system, Bangladesh has been burdened with an out- dated and inadequate legal mechanism that can hardly cope with the demand of corporate interests, resolution of labor disputes, recovery of bank loans, and maintaining law and order conducive to further economic development, social cohesion and cultural enlightenment.

Without progresses in legal areas such as aging suitable laws and their appropriate execution, speedy resolutions of all corporate and financial disputes, and quick and transparent transfer of properties some vital sectors of Bangladesh economy may suffer irreparable loses. Improvement in legal mechanism: Like the infrastructural development, improvement in legal mechanism can now be regarded as the most important pre-condition for a sustainable growth, a stronger economy, and a pro-people system of governance. Every country needs to define its social, demographic, economic and environmental conditions.

This information will create the knowledge about society and is a prerequisite for forming opinions and making political decisions on a sound basis. Timely, reliable, comparable and available information on social,

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demographic, economic and environmental conditions are key factors for the planning of the poor countries’ development. The basis for this information is nationally produced statistics. Statistics provides the information, or the evidence, needed for governments’ daily administration and policy analyses; policy-makers’ planning; businesses’ decisions; and the citizens’ option for holding their government accountable.

Statistics provides the basis for evidence-based policy decisions and a democratic society. Investment and reliable information: The private sector needs reliable information on how society develops to make decisions. In particular, this is the case when companies invest. Information providing a true picture on the economic situation now and prospects for the future makes companies more Media and economic development By insidious employment-creation and income-generation thus paving the way for poverty reduction and improvement of the people’s lives.

Freedom of the media is to facilitate the dissemination of information among the players in the game. The media also can provide an independent assessment of the development process. Pointing out the shortcomings of particular programmer can serve as an essential step toward making those programmer more responsive to the true needs of the people being served. No other institution is as well-placed as the independent press to act as a watchdog for bad governance and corruption.

A closed media market, manipulated by either government officials or self-grandstanding millionaires, can lead to situations. But if the ‘media marketplace’ is open to new players and free choices, the truth will come out. Nobel winning economist DRP Mammary Seen has a research- finding that there has never been a famine in any country that has been a democracy with a relatively free press. There is no shortage of food but problem of distribution, and knowledge of excess and shortage of food in different locations. The free press can identify the shortages and excesses.

A free press is central to the development and maintenance of transparent and honest government and durable economic growth. The establishment of a strong, free and independent press is a necessary precondition for all real and durable progress in economic, social and political developments, and stability. The link between civil liberties and successful economic development is evident in all parts of the world. The case of Indonesia as well as of Poland and other Central European countries, where new newspapers have blossomed in the aftermath of an economic overhaul, are examples worth mentioning.

Countries where corporations publish relatively comprehensive and accurate financial statements have better- developed financial intermediaries than he countries where published information on corporations is less reliable. As the role of information technology in economic growth becomes larger and larger, promoting IT investments and facilitating effective use of IT systems are important not only for improving the competitiveness of Japanese industries, but also for the long-term macro-economic growth of the Japanese economy.

Knowledge transmission and enhanced transparency are regarded as key ingredients of an effective strategy by development policymakers. Promoting good governance and development requires improvement of media capacity for reporting on socio- economic and development issues such as public health and education. Constraints inhibiting freedom of the press: There are a number of constraints inhibiting freedom of the press in Bangladesh. Article 39 of the Constitution of Bangladesh is titled “Freedom of thought and conscience, and of speech”.

It states: (1) “Freedom of thought and conscience, and of speech, is guaranteed. ” (2) “Subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interests of the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality, or in relation o contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence every citizen’s right to freedom of speech and expression; and freedom of the press, are guaranteed. The term ‘reasonable’ is subjective and can be interpreted by different stakeholders according to a wide range diversity of choices.

As per the Printing Presses and Publication Act 1973, publication of any newspaper requires prior written approval of and publishing anything that affects interest of the State and the Government of Bangladesh. According to Section AAA of the Bangladesh Penal Code, a person can e punished with imprisonment for three years or fines if he expresses ‘dissatisfaction’ against the Government and Section 505(b) forbids any report or statement against the State, the punishment of which is imprisonment for seven years or fines or both.

According to Section AAA of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Government can forfeit any publication if it is defamatory of the President, the Prime Minister or the Speaker of Parliament. The Official Secrets Act of 1923 bars public servants from providing to anyone any secret government plan, document, note, sketch, model, signal, information etc. Which are related to restricted places and which, if made public, could pose threat to the security of the State. The Governments Service Rules of 1979 also prohibits public servants to disclose official information to press or to non-official persons.

There are two categories of mass media in Bangladesh print media and electronic media. State-run Bangladesh Television (BAT) has three channels BAT (Terrestrial), BAT World (Satellite) and Sandbags Bangladesh Television. Bangladesh private satellite channels and foreign TV channels can be accessed even in smaller towns and their adjacent areas. Bangladesh Beta with its 12 regional stations has nation-wide coverage. Its external service is broadcast in six languages. Beta also lends air-time to a number of international radio broadcasters.

Five private FM radio stations are available in some selected urban areas and have become particularly popular among young listeners. Community radio stations (Cars), including Community Rural Radio stationed in different areas of the country, have potential to cater for the information and communication needs of the local communities. The nation has minimum excess to he media, because of the level of adult literacy (43. 1 per cent) and the limited purchasing power of a large section of the population.

Newspapers circulate among a relatively small portion of the total population. Most newspaper readers live in the cities, so rural issues are addressed only sketchily. A study in 1995 revealed that overall television viewers are increasing, but newspaper readers and radio listeners are declining. From 2002 to 2005, the number of TV viewers increased from 61 per cent to 64 per cent, while newspaper readers dropped from 26 per cent to 24 per .NET and radio listeners from 29 per cent to 22 per cent.

Despite these trends, newspapers are likelier than electronic media to undertake critical and politically challenging in-depth reporting, and they reach opinion leaders. Developing countries saw development Journalism as a means for promoting economic development. We need ethical, free and responsible media for development and improvement of socio- economic conditions. Let us hope for a business-friendly media for economic development. The writer is pursuing PhD at Open University, Malaysia. [email protected] Com

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