Today, Dec. 29, 2008, is election day in Bangladesh. Here are some articles and resources for tracking the coverage and results. Please post links, news updates and comments below.
SAJA will be hosting a webcast later this week. Please check back here for details about the webcast.
than those in the past, but it remained to be seen if the losers would accept the results.
The vote was a return to democracy for the South Asian country after two years of emergency rule imposed by an army-backed government. It took over in January 2007 amid widespread street violence between supporters of rival parties and canceled a poll due that month.
"The election ended in a very peaceful environment and I never saw such a congenial atmosphere. The turnout was tremendous," Taleya Rehman, executive director of monitoring group Democracywatch, told Reuters.
Reuters has a primer, Why are Bangladesh's elections so important?
A government that brings economic growth to Bangladesh will improve the lives and minimise social unrest among the populace, some 45 percent of whom are below the poverty line, and reduce the need for foreign aid.
The country has a thriving textile industry but growth for it and other manufacturers has been limited by energy shortages. Past governments have failed to develop significant natural gas and coal resources.
Bangladesh politics is traditional, rhetoric and propaganda based and there is little scope for interaction with the leaders asking for accountability. The grass root activists and the general people have little to say in the decision making processes. However Jagoree, a non-partisan platform for Bangladeshi youth, is using facebook and blog to to engage in the political and policy making processes by developing themselves as informed and responsible citizens.
From his piece about microblogging:
Somewherein, a software company and the pioneer of the first bangla blog community in the world has introduced a twitter like web based micro blogging community where message can be sent via web and mobile phones (sms) for dissemination of news of the election by the netizens. The messages can also be sent directly to an interactive map where location based information can be found.
Naeem Mohaeiemen, naeem.mohaiemen[at]gmail.com, a former New Yorker who now lives in Bangladesh, wrote about the role of mobile phones in this election:
The mobile phone camera, with it's grainy real-time visual aesthetic, has replaced video cameras as the on-the-fly recording mechanism. More than once, we have seen mobile phone video being sent by MMS to TV stations and used for breaking news. "By mobile phone" is the ubiquitous on-screen scroll for election reporting on our major TV networks, whenever it is in a remote area where the camera crew has not arrived.
Please post links, news updates and comments below.