Special Feature

Possibilities of Online News Sites in Bangladesh: A Potential Perspective

23 Sep,2014

Dhaka September 23 (BdChronicle Special Feature):

 

The sentence says it all; Bangladeshi love news more than reality shows, dramas and going to the movies. Because, the nation has such an arrangement both in the economy and politics that the excitement is beyond control each and every day.

 

Internet has become a recent sensation in Bangladesh where organizations with names ending with ‘bd.com’ is more than ever. The reasonable point here is “the road is smooth enough to sustain a business and grow profit through the internet.”

 

‘News’ in the form of visual media was limited in the country before a decade when only BTV and a few private TV channels were available. Then the private Television Channels and Radio Stations have been booming where all the channels or stations, despite their characteristics broadcasted news in all flavors.

 

Soon, someone had the idea to launch a news site for the first time in Bangladesh and it was none but bdnews24.com.

 

Then, a number of online news agencies followed the same path and they thought of similar names. The names were related to either bd/24 in some way. They followed the same user interface in their websites that sometimes prove that the sites are quite identical in terms of design and content.

 

Behind the scenario, a number of issues are yet to be addressed. The quality of the content published in these news sites are not up to the mark. Even sometimes, the contents are straight way stolen from another site and then published without any permission and leading to a violation of copyright laws.

 

There exists a great amount of workforce behind the online news sector where people starting from the age group of 18 years to people who are at the peak of their journalism careers are working day and night to produce better contents that serve to the reader’s need for information in no time.

 

How does the system work? One might question. Yes, the system works with a good domain name. It has to be catchy and meaningful. Then, a Facebook page is a must where all the news uploaded are mandatorily served to the online audience. Then, another question rise regarding the number of contributors for the online news sites.

 

Basically, for the senior posts, acting Journalists are recruited while for the Correspondent posts; current students at universities are asked to work with. In return, they are paid either on a contract basis or on a monthly basis. Where does the money come from? Google AdSense and the local ad network.

 

Speaking about possibilities, the online news sites need a better framework. They use Wordpress/Joomla as their site framework and some of them have bought paid Content Management Systems. Despite that, they often find it hard to cater to huge traffic when there is a rush in political/national development since a small number of people is adept in maintaining and handling servers.

 

It will be tough to exist or make crisis as BTRC has prepared a draft to regulate the online news industry through imposing some absurd rules and regulations. According to the rules, the existing news sites have to place their servers inside the country and the IP addresses are to be shared with the government. Licenses are to be renewed at a high cost which is too much considering the inception of a new media sector in Bangladesh. If the rules and regulations are brought into effect, a deep crisis is knocking at the door.

 

On the other side, a great potential has been already unlocked since Bangladesh has been ranked as the 26th country in Asia considering the amount of software outsourced in dollars per year.

 

The ideas and the thinktanks are present but the online news sector lacks motivations. It needs a whole level of maturity both in content and branding which will show an alternative path to the costly print media as well.

 

Online News Industry is the next big thing in Bangladesh and the possibilities are endless. Beneath that possibility, there needs a great deal of research and knowledge which will eventually help these sites produce better and creditable content and reach out to millions of people with information which they badly need.

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