‘Journalists should always be rewarded for their contributions,’ says Dr Hasan Mahmud, MP

Ritu, a programme that promotes Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in schools and communities of Bangladesh organised an Award Giving Ceremony at CIRDAP International Conference Centre on 28th July 2019, Sunday, to encourage and honour the journalists who have been working to bring the topic of Menstruation in mainstream media.

Certificates were distributed among 90 journalists, and awards to 10 journalists for their contribution to the cause of Menstrual Hygiene with their reports in the media. The Ritu programme is funded by The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which is one of the greatest contributors of SRHR programs in Bangladesh.

Dr Hasan Mahmud, MP, Honorable Minister, Ministry of Information, graced the event as the Chief Guest, and honoured the winners by presenting them with the awards. He thanked the journalists for their contribution and encouraged them to bring forward similar issues. He further stated that reporters should always be rewarded for their contributions.

Jeroen Steeghs, Deputy Head of Mission and Head of Development Cooperation and Economic Affairs, The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, was present as the Guest of Honour and said that the increased collaboration between NGOs and journalists will ensure that proper knowledge and information reach the masses. 

Special Guest, Quazi A. K. M Mohiul Islam said, “It is only the journalists who are strong enough to change the decision of the Supreme Court,” referring to the news that was published in Dhaka Tribune where it was reported that their toilets were not hygienic. Within two days of that publication, the Supreme Court formed a committee to make sure the toilets were hygienic and had all the necessities that a woman will need especially during her menstruation. The publisher of this news, Muhammad Bahauddin al Imran, is one of the recipient of the Ritu Journalist Fellowship Award. 

Two journalists shared their experiences of working with Ritu as a journalist fellow. Rysa, a Radio Broadcaster shared that when she started working in 2016, she realised that some media agencies were not comfortable to publish news about menstruation. Forhad Hossain, Senior Reporter, Channel i, stated that he learnt many things while working with Ritu, such as the difference between the use of sanitary pads and cloth, and that managing menstruation with cloth is very difficult and time consuming for women.

Arnob Chakrabarty, Managing Director, RedOrange Media and Communications, mentioned that while working on the issue, the journalists realised its the seriousness. The contributions of journalists played a huge role in making many changes and influencing important decisions. One such decision is that of removing VAT from domestically acquired raw materials used to produce sanitary napkins. 

Dr Abul Hossain, Project Director, Multi-Sectoral Programme on Violence Against Women, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, spoke on the importance and the power of media, stating that the media can never be ignored. He also emphasised how menstrual hygiene management in schools is closely related to child marriage, early pregnancy and maternal deaths. 

Ms Ashrafunnesa, Joint Secretary and Director, IEM Unit, DGFP, spoke about the role of Civil Society Organisations in bringing about huge positive changes.  

The names of the winners from each category is listed below: 

TV Report

  1. Azizur Rahman, Jamuna TV
  2. S M Atikur Rahman, Senior Correspondent, NTV

Review Report

  1. Sadia Nancy, Staff Reporter, Radio Today
  2. Md Nahiyan Naser, RJ, Radio Next

English Newspapers

  1. Nawaz Farhin, Reporter, Dhaka Tribune
  2. Mohammad Golam Rabbani, Senior Reporter, Daily New Nation

Bangla Newspaper

  1. Zahidur Rahman, Sub Editor, Dainik Shamkal
  2. Muslima Jahan Setu, Reporter, Dainik Prothom Alo 

Online News Portal

  1. Mohammad Bahauddin Al Imran, Bangla Tribune
  2. Masudul Hoque, Senior Staff Correspondent, United News Bangladesh
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