Let's Disrupt: How Is the Media Handling COVID-19 Coverage in South Asia

Posted by: Yvonne Luker - Global Chamber on Thursday, May 21, 2020

Our “Let's Disrupt” programs create conversations on contemporary issues shaping the business world.

For this third globinar in the Covid-19 series, we examined how the media and development sector has and has not stepped-up to deliver news and spread awareness in a time when there’s a constant barrage of (mis)information revolving around the pandemic.

Watch the latest program here on the Let's Disrupt facebook page or watch the recording on our youtube channel.

How has reporting on Covid-19 influenced press freedom worldwide? How is the media fact-checking especially when faced with a fast-paced outbreak of fake news on social media platforms? What is the best way to effectively communicate information to raise awareness and lead to development programming? How can business leaders best sort through the information to make decisions to optimize success?

Zafar Sobhan discussed the importance of transparency and letting the journalists do their job.

Dr. Jagat Shah shared about the business impact that Covid-19 has had on the business community, particularly in India. And his inspiring words also mapped a path for success.

Dr. Shah also advocated for resilience to change. "In this new order, are you an agent of change, or a victim of change?"

Nalaka Gunawardene discussed the importance of truth in a world of misinformation, from the vantage of Sri Lanka. He also discussed the need for fact-checkers within the community.

Sarah-Jane Saltmarsh shared more about the mission for BRAC, the world's largest NGO - and how they have weathered this global storm in Bangladesh and beyond.


  • Zafar Sobhan - Editor of Dhaka Tribune
  • Dr. Jagat Shah - CMD of Global Network, Vibrant Markets, Mentor on Road & Smart Village
  • Nalaka Gunawardene - Science Writer and Journalist, Sri Lanka
  • Sarah-Jane Saltmarsh - Head Programme and Enterprises Communications, BRAC


  •     Global Chamber Barisal, Global Chamber Dhaka and Global Chamber Ahmedabad
  •     United Nations Development Program in Bangladesh
  •     Movementum Consultancy and Facilitation Group


Zafar Sobhan, Editor - Dhaka Tribune, Bangladesh; Zafar Sobhan is the editor of Dhaka Tribune, founded in 2013. As a long-time columnist, he also has to his name numerous articles, features, interviews, and essays in publications such as The New York Times, The Guardian, TIME, Vice, Himal, Economic & Political Weekly, Outlook and Seminar. Previously, he served as editor of the monthly Forum magazine and opinions editor of The Daily Star, and before that as an associate at the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton. He was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2005 and as a 2009 Yale World Fellow.



Dr. Jagat Shah - CMD of Global Network IndiaVibrant Markets, Mentor on Road and Smart Villages. Dr. Jagat Shah studied for MBA (International trade) graduating from Delhi University & is a certified cluster development practitioner, trained & certified by United Natins - UNIDO at Turin, Italy. He has additionally graduated in Diamond technology from Indian Diamond Institute (IDI), Surat. He is a certified management consultant (CMC) from ICMCI, USA. In last 23 years of his career, he has worked on international market & investment strategies with Indian, American, Canadian & European companies & governments.  Through his ISO certified economic development agency, he has worked with cluster development approach on Small & Medium Enterprise (SME) competitiveness & poverty elimination with several governments & private sector in 20 countries -  India, USA, Canada, Brazil, South Africa, Senegal, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Serbia, Croatia, Italy, UAE, Oman, Ras Al Khaimah, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia besides several states in India. He contributes to these efforts from his head office at Ahmedabad in Gujarat - India. He is the Foreign representative of Government of Manitoba, Canada in India for trade & investment since last seven years.Dr. Jagat Shah - CMD of Global Network, Vibrant Markets, Mentor on Road & Smart Village 

Nalaka Gunawardene - Science Writer and Journalist, Sri Lanka. Trained as a science writer, Nalaka Gunawardene is widely experienced as a journalist with experience across print, broadcast and web outlets in his native Sri Lanka and Asia. Over the past 30 years, Nalaka has worked for national newspapers, international news magazines, business magazines, radio and TV channels, as well as global websites covering science, development and media related issues. He has also done journalist training and been a communications consultant to research organizations and development agencies. He is a leading analyst on social, cultural and political impacts of information and communications technologies (ICTs) in Sri Lanka and South Asia. From the early 1990s, Nalaka has been chronicling and critiquing the evolution of information society in Sri Lanka. He has written and spoken widely on issues such as the digital divide, gender disparities in ICT use, rise of digital natives, social media proliferation, ICTs for good governance, growth of online hate speech, the rise of election campaigning online, countering online disinformation, and safeguarding Internet freedoms. In 2016-17, he was on a fellowship by the Internet Governance Academy in Germany to study internet governance and freedom of expression issues. He has been a participant and speaker at annual UN Internet Governance Forums since 2016.   

Sarah-Jane Saltmarsh - Head Programme and Enterprises Communications, BRAC. Sarah-Jane communicates about solutions. Her work has included politics, tourism, advocacy, advertising and journalism, across development, humanitarian and indigenous affairs. Sarah-Jane has led communication initiatives for the Chief Minister’s Department, Northern Territory Government (Australia), International Labour Organisation (ILO - United Nations (Bangladesh, Thailand and Switzerland), Better Work - an ILO/IFC initiative (Bangladesh, Switzerland) and BRAC (Bangladesh). She is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper (Dhaka Hub) and currently heads Programme and Enterprise Communications in BRAC.  



Doug Bruhnke - Founder/CEO of Global Chamber®Doug is an international entrepreneur dedicated to helping members of Global Chamber® reach new markets across metros and borders more successfully. He is a two-time expat with Dupont in Tokyo and Singapore with over 30 years of global business experience in nearly all countries and segments. Doug is a regional advisor for U.S. Global Leadership Coalition and a member of collaborating international groups including the Arizona District Export Council. He has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from University of Utah, an EMBA from Michigan State University and 5 patents. Doug was born in Mt. Kisco, New York and now lives in the metro regions of Phoenix and San Francisco. Hear more about the Global Chamber® story here.

Sohara Mehroze Shachi - Team Lead, Research Facility at United Nations Development Programme in Bangladesh. Sohara Mehroze Shachi is the Team Lead of the United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) Research Facility in Bangladesh. In this capacity she is spearheading original research on various emerging development challenges for Bangladesh, such as the impacts of the fourth industrial revolution on jobs and assessment of Covid-19 impacts. She has been working to enhance climate change resilience of vulnerable women living in coastal areas, improve access to international climate finance of the government and increase transparency of national climate change expenditure. 

Sohara is also a freelance journalist, covering stories of the multifaceted impacts of climate change, including food insecurity, natural calamities and climate change induced migration. She is the first Bangladeshi to win the Asian Young Environmental Journalist of the Year award. In addition, Sohara is involved with the voluntary youth organization Global Shapers Community, Dhaka Hub, with which she is implementing various interventions including a city greening and climate change awareness project named Treelionaire that is being replicated in cities around South Asia.  

Maimun Ur Rashid Mustafa - Executive Director for Global Chamber® Barisal. With family roots being based in Patuakhali, Barisal, Maimun has lived and is based in Dhaka, the political and business capital of Bangladesh and is committed to helping regional companies be more global and successful. In addition to his role with Global Chamber, Maimun is the Global Group CEO of multinational conglomerate Amzo Global Enterprises Group, having operations in and with the US, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Bangladesh. This third generation entrepreneur loves to engage with new investment, communciation and technology opportunities. The Amzo Global Group has Agro, RMG, Fitness, Welness, Tech, Communication, FnB, Investment Incubation and Management Consultancy as some of its offering under the Global Portfolio. With over 10 years of marketing, branding and business development experience, Maimun has gained work competencies in CSOs, Social Businesses, Media, Communications, Trade, Technology as well as Bilateral and Multilateral negotiations. Additionally, he has managed numerous transformational processes of CSOs to transition them to more sustainable social enterprise models. Maimun has a Bss in Economics from his alma matter.




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