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Siraj Shahjahan

Siraj is an online journalist, publisher and lecturer at the University of Liberal Arts in Dhaka.

She also contributes to UnnayanNews and UnnayanTV and helped to found Machizo Multimedia, a social entrepreneurial organisation. Previously she was chief editor of Drik Multimedia and online editor of Banglarights – Bangladesh’s first human rights web portal.

Why did you decide to be a journalist?

I wanted to work closely with people, for the poor majority in particular. I am using and promoting multimedia and online journalism in Bangladesh because I believe they are powerful tools. My commitment is to use modern communication tools for poverty alleviation, human rights and development by making information a bridge between offender and defender, privileged and unprivileged. I focus on giving voice to the voiceless and reporting the unreported stories of grassroots Bangladesh.

Why did you decide to focus your work on development issues?

I feel Bangladesh has not yet reached a minimum standard in democracy, where all people can participate. There is a need to educate people with global information but with a local angle. However most journalists do not focus on the poor rural majority, and if we do not, then the situation will never change. That’s why I have chosen to make development issues my working arena.

What is the role of journalism for the development of your country?

In my country mainstream journalism is still biased by western views. So I think it needs to focus more on educational and development issues. Even though most of journalists are now based in the cities, they still cannot use multimedia so there is a huge need for improvement there.

Journalism by Siraj Shahjahan

Bangladesh: Reduced to beggars by land dispute

05/11/2009

Disputes over land are the biggest single cause of court cases in Bangladesh. It’s usually the rich and powerful who win. Here one couple describes how they lost their home and their livelihood.

Like ducks to water

04/11/2008

In Bangladesh Shamsur Rahman Shaq and Mosamot Amena Begaumin are flooded for a third of the year round. But they have found a way to survive on their waterlogged land.

The rickshaw puller

03/05/2008

Forced by famine, floods and debt, an estimated nine out of ten rickshaw drivers have migrated to Dhaka, swelling the ranks of the city's urban poor.

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