In last few decades the country has made significant advancements in sectors like education, garments industry, health, and women empowerment. In lockstep with such progresses, media industry also has made significant advancements both in terms of quality and quantity. Currently, more than 30 TV channels, 3025 newspapers and around 2000 online news portals are in operation. Undoubtedly, this thriving growth has been applauded by many of us considering the prospects like employment generation, competition for investigative reports, increasing readerships or viewers etc. But the flip side of coin is, the pressure of increasing revenue and advertisements, reaching to audience very fast especially by online news portals can also hamper accuracy, tendency of citing inaccurate information, uploading incorrect photo, publishing fake news etc e.g. Bangla Mail 71, Zoom Bangla news portal, Andolon news, during the ongoing Safe Road Movement. Accuracy is one of the major principles of objective news but unfortunately it was missing in several news. Daily Star Online (Bangla) in one of its football match reported on 1 August 2018 stated that Roma convincingly won but unfortunately the caption in social media had the information as Barcelona won over Roma, a sheer contradictory with the real report and headline. Apart from being inaccurate in terms of information in report, there were also few new items where readers were duped by leading newspapers through its headlines. For instance, Bangladesh Pratidin published a report titled Hero Alam in Remand. ‘Remand’ was actually the name of movie where he is supposed to act. The newspaper did not use the symbol (!) which is a common practice in such news that forced readers to conclude, Hero Alam actually is in the remand. Undoubtedly it can be argued that the news was misleading for readers and this newspaper did such headlines in a bid to increase readership. In addition to misleading readers through headlines, Bangladesh Pratidin has made mistakes like giving inappropriate image and inconsistent captions. In the news titled ‘one segment of student league boycotts 21st February program at SUST’ shared in social media had some information on diabetic food and other related information as caption. In other news, Samsung to bring one-thousand-unit FPS camera had a cover photo of Mushfiqur Rahman, a national cricket team player which was also contradictory with headline. ETV online in a news of Alia Bhatt used picture of Salman Muktadir, an actor and youtuber of Bangladesh. Likewise, the seminar news ETV online incorporated a cover photo of umpire and bowler of a cricket match though the news actually was on submission of charge sheet on attack on noted writer Muhammed Zafar Iqbal. During the city corporation election of Gazipur, Channel 71 broadcast the name of Ivy Rahman (incumbent Mayor of Narayanganj City Corporation) in tv scroll instead of Jahangir Alam, the actual candidate from ruling party AL. Generally, we expect that years of experience in the field of journalism will enrich professionalism of our journalists. But the unfortunate reality is, still our leading media outlets are making mistakes like publishing fake news, citing inaccurate information, uploading incorrect photo, violating media ethics etc. Even it is more unfortunate for us when we find leading online like Daily Star, Bangladesh Pratidin and Channel 71 make similar mistakes. So, it is very obvious that readers will not rate those media as credible after experiencing those errors. Gate keepers now must be more careful than ever while publishing news. There is also an urgent need to review editorial policy that will safe readers from being the victims of fake news, misleading headlines and inaccurate information.
The writer is a former student of Mass Communication and Journalism at Dhaka University
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