Continuing with a series of interviews with IFAJ guilds, Lena Johansson, IFAJ Vice-President, presents the Bangladesh Agricultural Journalists and Activists Federation (BAJAF) and their president Pulack Ghatack.
Who are you?
I am Pulack Ghatack, President of Bangladesh Agricultural Journalists and Activists Federation (BAJAF). I am also the joint secretary general of the Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ), the apex trade union of journalists in Bangladesh. I am well known in Bangladesh as a journalist and activist for press freedom, people’s rights and democracy. I am a member of the Board of Directors of the Press Institute of Bangladesh (PIB). I am also a permanent member of the National Press Club of Bangladesh, Dhaka Reporters’ Unity, and some other organizations.
Currently I have been working as chief of correspondents for the Daily Observer, a national daily in Bangladesh. Prior to that, I have worked on a number of daily newspapers published from capital Dhaka and northern Rangpur city.
What is the name of your guild?
Bangladesh Agricultural Journalists and Activists Federation (BAJAF).
Our official website: https://bajaf.org/
How many members do you have?
Currently we have 76 members. The number is expected to rise shortly, as a good number of membership applications from journalists are awaiting approval of the executive committee of BAJAF.
What are the big issues for agriculture journalism in your country?
Proper marketing of agricultural products creating a win-win situation for consumers and farmers is the immediate challenge for Bangladesh’s farming economy. The problems of farmers and consumers are the focus in journalism. The major challenge remains elsewhere. Bangladesh is a victim of climate change that is affecting its entire agricultural sector. Decaying of forests due to growing industrial efforts is also a major concern. Adaptability with the ever-growing knowledge and technology, changes in the traditional pattern of agriculture and progresses in different sectors of farming are the daily issues of interest for agricultural journalism here in Bangladesh.
Why did your guild become a member of IFAJ?
We wanted to ensure the position of Bangladeshi journalists and farmers in the global body of agricultural journalists. We wanted to integrate with the global community, exchange views and enrich ourselves as well as contribute as much as we can. After joining IFAJ, we have had the opportunity to work with journalists from across the world and all who work in and support the freedom of expression.
How long has Bangladesh been a member of IFAJ?
Bangladesh became a member of IFAJ in 2016.
What is your biggest dream right now? (It doesn’t have to be about agriculture journalism.)
The media in Bangladesh is vibrant, which is improving day by day defying many obstacles. Two decades ago agricultural journalism in Bangladesh was solely dependent on the rural correspondents of the newspapers, who had little opportunities to do their jobs. However, Agricultural Journalism has developed remarkably during the last 20 years, with almost all the media outlets employing dedicated reporters in this field. Most of the Dhaka based agricultural journalists have already become members of BAFAJ. Now we want to organize rural journalists.
BAJAF emerged as a federal body of agricultural journalists and activist primarily incorporating three units in Dhaka, Chittagong and Rangpur. Now we are working to expand our reach into the rural areas and bring all the journalists, writers and agricultural activists under this common umbrella. We want to introduce some welfare scheme for our members. Agriculture is yet to receive the deserving prominence in the media and academic discourse as it is the mainstay of Bangladesh’s economy. So an organized effort for development of agricultural journalism is a necessity.