Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bangladesh: ARTICLE 19 Fellow Receives Canadian Award for Excellence in Journalism

Bangladesh: ARTICLE 19 Fellow Receives Canadian Award
for Excellence in Journalism

Bangladeshi journalist and ARTICLE 19 Fellow Rafiqul Islam Montu has received the Canadian Award for Excellence in Journalism for his investigative article on coastal areas affected by climate change. The story was researched and produced as part of ARTICLE 19's Fellowship Programme for Bangladeshi journalists, implemented in partnership with Mass Line Media Centre.

Montu received the award on 23 February from Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dr. Dipu Moni at a ceremony held at the National Press Club. Montu is one of six journalists that received the award in recognition of the high quality of his work, and for its potential to increase public awareness and public discourse on the impact of climate change in Bangladesh. The awardees were selected by an eminent panel of jurors which included climate change campaigners, journalists and environmentalists.

Montu’s research highlighted the impact of climate change at the community level, and included the increase in river erosion, changes in livelihood patterns, decreases in rice production and destruction of flora and fauna. His report was published in May 2009 in the daily Samakal.

Montu conducted his research into climate change in 2008 under an ARTICLE 19 fellowship programme, which was jointly implemented with the Mass Line Media Centre. The programme provides technical and financial support to selected journalists for them to work on issues relating to access to information. He now works as a senior correspondent for the national daily paper Kaler Kantha.

Commenting on the benefits of his fellowship, Montu says: “I was able to survey some of the most vulnerable parts of the country, including the districts of Noakhali, Patuakhali and Laxmipur. The ARTICLE 19 fellowship provided me with the opportunity to raise the voices of vulnerable communities and help face up to real life situations.”

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