Can Print Media Discourse Drive Forest Policy Change in Bangladesh?

Md. Nazmus Sadath, Max Krott


Forest issues are widely discussed in Bangladeshi print media. Different policy actors (both central and peripheral) participate in the media discussion to express their opinions on and interests in forest issues. The media play an important role in the construction of the social, environmental and economic context of the Bangladeshi forest sector where forest policies are formulated and modified. Nevertheless, while extensive research has been carried out to explain the formation of the environmental discourse, very little research has been done on the specific relationship between the policy outcomes and media discourses. This study tries to determine the influence of media discourse on forest policy changes in Bangladesh. It analyses the media discourse from 1989 to 2009 in the “The Daily Ittefaq”, a reputed Bangladeshi print medium of Bangladesh, along with Bangladeshi forest policy documents from 1989 to 2010. A quantitative, qualitative content analysis, followed by expert interviews of forest policy decision makers was the chosen methodology. The empirical findings of the study reveal that media discourses do not drive the forest policy change in Bangladesh; rather the international concurrent forest discourses trigger symbolic forest policy changes in Bangladesh.

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