Mobile advocacy captures attention in Dhaka

Development and advocacy activists in Bangladesh were amazed to see how powerful a small mobile phone can be when they watched the film '10 tactics for turning information into action' at the Dhaka Reporters’ Unity (DRU), Bangladesh.

They learned how bloggers in different countries used this miniature version of information technology to expose corruption, intimidation and rights violations and create awareness against such practices among the people at local and global levels.

They also learned how to use this technology to reach a large segment of audiences and communicate effectively to drum up support for a cause.

Centre for Media and Communication Studies (CMCS) screened the film at the conference room of the DRU. Representatives from NGOs, media houses and development agencies attended the program. The film, produced by Tactical Technology Collective, provides original and artful ways for rights advocates to capture attention and communicate a cause. The 50-minute film, which documents inspiring info-activism stories from around the world, is targeted towards rights advocates, NGOs, activists, bloggers, citizen journalists and independent media.

Besides screening of the film, the 10 tactics sets of cards, with tools, tips and advice for information activists, were handed out to participants.There was also an interactive session attended by Manzurul Ahsan Bulbul, CEO Baishakhi television; Robaet Ferdous, Associate Professor of Mass Communication and Journalism Department of Dhaka University; and Dr. Ananya Raihan, Executive Director of D-Net. CMCS Chairman Sohel Manzur moderated the session.

Manzurul Ahsan Bulbul said although the film is targeted towards advocacy and rights activists, this can be very much effective for the journalists as well. He praised the way the film suggested the use of commonly available technology and techniques and said there is need for a well organized campaign to ensure use of these techniques by the local NGOs and advocacy groups.

Robaet Ferdous said when a new idea or concept emerges in the society people need to be informed about it to overcome the obstacles. “Dissemination of information is very much important. This film can play an important role in turning information into action,” he added.

Ananya Raihan highlighted the importance of information for development of the country and said there is need for proper implementation of the recently enacted Right to Information Act.

Sohel Manzur said there was a time when credit was the main tool for empowerment and income generation of the poor. But the approach has changed, he said, adding the donors and development agencies now consider information as the tool for poverty reduction. They have come up with different models of disseminating information among the poor, so that they can use the information for their empowerment and income generation, he noted. He also said the film will be dubbed in Bengali and local experiences will also be incorporated in the film to make it an effective tool for advocacy, rights and development activists.

Article and image by Sohel Manzur. Original article here.

About the host organisation: CMCS is a non-profit organisation "dedicated towards increasing the professional efficiency of reporters, feature writers, editorial staff and other media professionals, both at national and local levels, in Bangladesh. CMCS also acts as watchdog of press freedom and an advocate of the right to informationa."