The Bangladesh film Industry and Bangladesh press both have very troubled pasts. Both cinematography and the media suffered long under the oppression of censorship, but for the last few years, both types of public expression have seen the benefits of liberalization.
Dhaka Film studios have revived and are now producing movies inspired from the everyday events of everyday people, while newspapers and magazines also see the advantages of more freedom.
Dhaka Film – Representation in Change
2014 saw the 13th edition of the Dhaka International Film Festival. The general theme and topic of the festival was Better Film, Better Audience, Better Society – a very suggestive title that expresses what Bangladesh film is all about nowadays.
Film making in Bangladesh is way more than independent, individual expressions of scattered messages. The 2014 festival categories included not only general groups like shorts and independent films, but specific awards for Women Filmmakers and the section for Spiritual Films.
The festival hosted a Women Filmmakers Conference as well. The conference was organized in partnership with the Department of Women and Gender Studies of the University of Dhaka and it had guests from all over the world, marking the emergence of the female perspective in the discourse of contemporary movies.
Journalism in Change
Newspaper writing and social criticism are increasingly present in Bangladesh journalism nowadays. While the periods of censorship marked journalism in a negative way and journalism was among the most dangerous professions in the country, the last few decades saw a certain amount of liberalization and the freedom of speech, the rights of the journalists as well as their safety are topics that make their way into editorials on a daily basis.
Though currently there is no independent organization to monitor whether the rights of reporters are respected, the respectability of the media is definitely recovering.
Both journalism and film are making their ways into academia as well. The Department of Journalism and Mass Communication of the University of Dhaka and Department of Television & Film Studies of the University of Dhaka are joining forces to make film and journalism forms of art that mirror reality, inform and educate the public at the same time.
Though censorship still has a strong presence in the media environment of the country and it still regulates both newspaper contents and film content, Bangladesh media has definitely set off on the road towards the freedom of the artistic expression.