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PM’s role in welfare of journalists is unprecedented: Hasan

Staff Reporter:

Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud on Thursday said media-friendly Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has played an unprecedented role in the welfare of the journalists and expansion of the mass media.

“We think that criticisms expedite the advancement and it helps in work. Mass media in Bangladesh enjoy optimum freedom. And the freedom of the press and the expansion of media in Bangladesh are examples for other developing countries,” he said while addressing the Representative Conference-2023 of BFUJ-Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists as special guest at the Jatiya Press Club (JPC) here.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addressed the conference as the chief guest.

BFUJ president Omar Faruque presided over the conference while its secretary general Dip Azad conducted it. Dhaka Union of Journalists (DJU) president Sohel Haider Chowdhury and BFUJ regional leaders, among others, addressed it.

Dr Hasan said the journey of private televisions and radios started during the regime of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

He said, “When we formed the government in 2009, there were 10 TV channels and 450 daily newspapers, which are now 1,260. Thirty-five TV channels are on air while more five will be on air soon. A number of private FM radios were approved. Several dozens of community radios were given approval while most of them are on air. This proves how media-friendly Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her government are.”

The minister said once Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman did journalism and he allocated the land for the JPC. His daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had declared in 2014 here to do something for the journalists that will be sustainable, he added.

He said the Journalists Welfare Trust has been established at her initiative and it has become a place of dependence for all journalists.

The minister said a family member would get Taka Three lakh from the trust if any journalist dies. “We also amended the policy of the trust and from now on, the meritorious students of journalists would get grants from the trust. More than 7,000 journalists have received grants from the fund,” said Hasan, also Awami League joint general secretary.

Criticising BNP’s recent activities, he said more than 32 journalists were injured by BNP’s terrorists on October 28.

The minister urged the journalists to create public opinion against the BNP’s miscreants and terrorists.

Hasan Mahmud said journalists, editors and mass media can mould public opinion. But people of the country are unaware about their brutality even after the attack on more than 32 on-duty journalists. Countrymen don’t know about the severity and cruelty of the attack on newsmen, he added.

He said, “It is the responsibility of the media to inform the countrymen about BNP’s mayhem. And it is necessary to publish reports how the journalists were attacked.”

He said public opinions should be created against this and every stakeholder, including Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists and other journalists unions, should raise their voice against the attack.

Hasan Mahmud regretted over the silence of human rights advocates as they showed their complete inertia regarding the attack on journalists.

He said the 9th Wage Board was given by the Prime Minister but some newspaper owners filed a case against it.

He urged the owners to implement the 9th Wage Board award.

Dr Hasan informed the journalists that he has already ordered presenting a file at the ministry to begin the process of forming the 10th Wage Board.

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