Dhaka,  Tuesday
25 June 2024

Media should safeguard interest of country: Arafat

Messenger Online

Published: 20:51, 29 May 2024

Media should safeguard interest of country: Arafat

Photo: Collected

State Minister for Information and Broadcasting Mohammad Ali Arafat on Wednesday (29 May) urged the country’s mass media to work with utmost sincerity safeguarding the interest of the country and its people, saying that the government is working to ensure a congenial atmosphere for journalism.

“The government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina always stands by the people working in the media with different types of incentives so they can work professionally with responsibility,” he said.

The state minister said this while addressing the Bangladesh Press Council (BPC) Padak-2023 distribution ceremony at Tathya Bhaban Auditorium in the city’s Circuit House Road this afternoon.

Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting Ministry Kazi Keramat Ali, Senior Secretary of the ministry Humayun Kabir Khandaker, and jury board chief and Professor of Dhaka University (DU) Mass Communication and Journalism Department Dr Abul Mansur Ahmed spoke at the function with BPC Chairman Justice Md Nizamul Huq Nasim in the chair.

Reiterating the government’s commitment to foster professional journalism, Arafat said, “We believe that freedom of the press is the part of our Liberation War spirit”.

The protection of democracy, human rights, freedom of expression and freedom of the press is the large part of the dream based on which the country was liberated, he said, adding, “But later, it was snatched from us after August 15 in 1975 following the assassination of the country’s architect and the greatest Bengali of all time Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman”.

Later, the country witnessed that the evil force came to the state power and pushed the country towards darkness by establishing military rule, killing democracy, suppressing mass media, gagging the freedom of expression, destroying the human rights and ruining all the spirits of the Liberation War while the reactionary and anti-liberation forces were rehabilitated, the state minister said.

From that reality, he said, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been trying to bring the country out of the darkness and push it towards light and the spirit of the Liberation War for the last 15 years since 2009.

Noting that the government of Bangabandhu’s daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina welcomes all kinds of constructive criticism made by the media, Arafat said, “Today’s award is an evidence of that as one of the awardees got the award for his report criticizing the government”.

He termed the media as the eye of the government and said it helps the government in taking right decisions.

Urging the media to publish reports based on authentic information, the state minister said, “We want to see the media as a supportive force of the government. I want to assure you that if you publish any report based on factual and authentic information identifying the government’s mistakes, we will welcome those and recognize with award”.

“But the problems which are created when anti-Bangladesh conspirators engage in conspiracy riding on the mass media and abusing the press freedom against the country and its interest, and misguide the people by spreading misinformation and disinformation; we don’t want to recognize those as criticism and journalism rather we term those as propaganda, bad journalism, misinformation, crime and conspiracy,” Arafat said.

Referring to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle’s (DW) recent documentary on Bangladesh’s human rights issue, he said, “If you watch the documentary attentively, you will see it was not against any individual or the government, but against the country and its important institution - Bangladesh Army”.

The DW made an ill-motivated, malicious and misleading documentary to tarnish the reputation of Bangladesh Army, which has gained fame for its extraordinary role in the UN peacekeeping missions, the state minister added.

Making a nexus, he said, a vested quarter is spreading such kind of propaganda to tarnish the image of the Bangladesh Army and the country by using the international media.

Referring to Germen government’s stance regarding the Gaza war, Arafat said DW should prove its press freedom and commitment to human rights by airing documentary unveiling the genocide being carried out by Israeli Defence Forces, going against their government’s stance.

Otherwise, their so-called commitment to human rights and press freedom will be considered as fake, he added.

The US had raised a question over freedom of expression in Bangladesh as a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team entered BNP office following a bomb blasting there, he said. But their (US) character has been unmasked following the police action against the peaceful demonstration of students and teachers protesting the genocide in Gaza, Arafat said.

SWAT members entered BNP office following standard of the international law as it is specially trained on tackling explosive substances, but the US used its SWAT team to scatter the peaceful and unarmed agitators, he pointed out.

BPC Secretary Shyamol Chandra Karmakar delivered the welcome address at the event.

Former editor of Begum Patrika Nur Jahan Begum got the lifetime award (Posthumous) while Bhorer Kagoj in the institutional category, Dainik Cox’s Bazar in regional institutional category, Somoy TV Patuakhali district correspondent Shikdar Jabid Hossain in rural journalism, BTV news producer Md Iqbal Hossain in development and Bhorer Kagoj senior reporter Jharna Moni got the award in women journalism category.