Media should play a role in welfare of the country: HPM Sheikh Hasina

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Published on September 19, 2018
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged journalists to use their professional scope for country’s greater interest, saying the freedom of press should not to be used in a childlike manner.

“We fully believe in freedom of press, however it should not to be used in childish manner and everybody should remain careful about this,” she said, adding that “media should play a due role in welfare of the country.”

The prime minister was distributing cheques of financial assistance from Journalists Welfare Trust among sick, financially insolvent and injured journalists in accidents at a function at Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) here.

The premier said her government had assumed power in 2009 with a promise of changing the fate of people. Now, everybody would acknowledge that fortune of the people of the country has really changed, she said.

Sheikh Hasina said her utmost goal is to materialise the dream of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to build a happy and prosperous Bangladesh as she thinks it as her duty. So, she never bothered who wrote against her or in her favour.

“I always do anything with self-confidence asking myself the question — “Am I doing the right or wrong, and I guide myself on that principle,” the prime minister said.

Terming the media as the mirror of the society, Sheikh Hasina said the mirror has been widened with the addition of electronic media alongside newspapers. Now media comes to light many problems of the people from far flung areas, which is really helping the government to stand beside the distressed people.

The prime minister said everybody has the right to give speech, and she always believes in it. So, her government never gagged the mouth of anybody, rather has taken the necessary initiatives to protect the rights of media.

Pointing out the steps taken by her government for welfare of the journalists, the premier said her government has constituted the welfare trust for the journalists in line with her experience that none stand beside them during the days of their woes, particularly when they loss job or fell in any accident.

She announced giving Taka 20 crore more donation to the Bangladesh Journalists Welfare Trust Fund.

Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu presided over the function while PM’s Media Advisor Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, State Minister for Information Tarana Halim, Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Ministry AKM Rahmatullah were present as special guests.

Information Secretary Abdul Malek gave welcome address while Director General of Bangladesh Journalists Welfare Trust Shah Alamgir also addressed the function, among others.

President of Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) Molla Jalal, its Secretary General Saban Mahmud, President of Dhaka Union of Journalist (DUJ) Abu Jafor Surja and its General Secretary Sohel Haider Chowdhury also spoke on the occasion.

The prime minister distributed cheques of Taka 85 lakh among 113 journalists.

Pointing out the personal relation of Bangabandhu with country’s famous journalists and his involvement with journalism profession for some time as the correspondent of the daily Ittehad in Kolkata, the premier said she also consider herself as a family member of journalists.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangabandhu had absorbed most of the journalist in suitable government job and gave monthly allowance following closure of the newspapers except four in 1974.

Bangabandhu had done this as most of the newspapers even could not afford to give salary to the newsmen due to financial crisis, she said, adding that Bangabandhu had formed a committee with senior journalists but unfortunately many members of that committee emerged as critics after his assassination.

Sheikh Hasina said her government has opened mass media for private sector aimed at creating job opportunities. Newspaper industry has also been flourished in private sector as her government also given permission when anybody wanted to publish a newspaper.

The prime minister said she constituted the welfare trust for the journalist at her personal interest as she personally had observed the woe days of journalists particularly when they fall in financial crisis.

Sheikh Hasina thanked the daily Ittefaq and Machranga Television for giving donation to the journalist welfare trust fund, urging the owners of other private newspapers and television channels to make their contribution to the fund.

The prime minister has assured the journalists of enacting the Bangladesh Newspaper Services Condition Act as soon as possible, adding a broadcasting commission act would also be enacted and an online policy would be framed to check spread of obscene contents in the online media.

To resolve the housing problems of the journalists, poets, litterateur and writers, the premier said the government would take steps to facilitate the journalists to buy residential flats on hire-purchase method and monthly installment equivalent to monthly house rent.

Sheikh Hasina voiced her optimism that “as an independent nation, we would live with dignity and her government is doing everything with sincerity whatever is needed for this.”

“We have tried our best to ensure welfare of the people. I don’t know how much we became successful or didn’t, and people would judge it,” she said, adding that “as I have got the opportunity I’m discharging my duties as the servant of the people.”