covering COVID-19 in Bangladesh

Fabeha Monir is a Dhaka-based visual journalist. She has been documenting the coronavirus outbreak in Bangladesh. Her recent reportage on the global pandemic for Bistandsaktuelt was focused on one of the world’s largest refugee camps based in Cox Bazar with more than a million Rohingya refugees living in vulnerable conditions. We spoke with Fabeha following her coverage and here’s how she shares her experience of reporting COVID-19 in Bangladesh.

“I have covered all major disasters that hit us in the past, but nothing like this before. When we covered cyclones, floods, fire tragedies, earthquakes, and violent protests, I knew that I might lose my life in any of those events. None of that was fearful because there was no chance that anyone else might suffer because of me,” Fabeha said.

She added that during this health crisis, she has witnessed several other issues increase day by day, especially the issues of women and refugees in Bangladesh.

“As a female journalist, I have unimaginable access to the women population in our part of the world. Violence against women has increased, homeless women and children are in greater danger, transgender, sex workers, and refugee community are suffering from this crisis,” she said.

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Even though the coronavirus outbreak situation has compelled people to practice self-distancing, self-isolation and voluntary quarantine, for the 20 million inhabitants of Dhaka, isolation is an impossible world, Fabeha told us.

Following the risky circumstances in the midst of coronavirus, Fabeha has made it a point to be well prepared before she steps outside to report the pandemic. She said that she cannot imagine working without her safety gear.

“After returning from work the process of disinfecting takes longer. This takes a huge amount of time and stress but the fight is not to save myself alone. It is to ensure safety for the people around me and everyone whom I encounter everyday.”

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by The Coalition for Women in Journalism

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