Strengthening investigative journalism in Bangladesh

Kajsa Törnroth

Regional Manager

Maria Petersson

Project Coordinator

Media Resources Development Initiative (MRDI)
Sustainable Development Goals in this project
SDG4 - Quality Education
SDG5 - Gender Equality
SDG16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions
Investigative journalism
Gender equality
Sustainable journalism

Being a journalist in a country ranking 163 out of 180 on Reporters Without Borders 2023 Press Freedom Index is challenging. In Bangladesh, male and female reporters face threats, kidnappings, and even killings. Self-censorship is a common strategy used by journalists to avoid being persecuted or threatened. Yet, the country is home to a large group of very skilled professionals who tirelessly produce articles and stories to inform citizens and hold people in power to account.

Since 2016, Fojo has worked together with the local organisation Media Resources Development Initiative (MRDI) to improve the quality of local journalism and supported hundreds of journalists in producing some of Bangladesh’s most important investigative stories.

What we do

Our work in Bangladesh is focused on improving the production of investigative and in-depth journalism that addresses sustainability challenges such as climate change, the environment, and poverty. The articles produced often directly impact policymaking (both local, regional, and national) and have functioned as leverage to launch legal investigations into cases with suspected corruption in key fields such as medicine and education.

The support to the Bangladeshi news media sector is needs-based and expressed by the journalists submitting proposals to the programme where they present their story idea, rationale and budget. Expressed knowledge gaps are addressed by support from the local partner MRDI, Fojo and a vast network of local and international consultants. As such, the work is entirely led by local actors.

Media houses also receive tailored trainings for junior and senior journalists. The programme runs a help desk for journalists on investigative journalism and the right to information.

Another key aspect is supporting women journalists in challenging the perception of journalism being a male profession and creating an equal work environment where all journalists can thrive. We also work to make news outlets more sustainable by prioritising marginalised sections of society and reflecting sustainability challenges in reporting.