Enough freedom; perform your duties, PM tells journalists | Greenwatch Dhaka | The leading online daily of Bangladesh

Enough freedom; perform your duties, PM tells journalists

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Dhaka – Noting that there is enough freedom of press and expression, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday asked journalists to sincerely discharge their responsibilities and duties they have towards the country and society.
The Prime Minister made the remarks at the foundation lying ceremony of 31-stoery ‘Bangabandhu Media Complex’ on the Jatiya Press Club (JPC) premises, marking its 62nd founding anniversary. Sheikh Hasina said the government has so far enacted and formulated 18 laws and rules to ensure facilities for journalists.“It can’t be that you’ll enjoy facilities, but won’t discharge your duties… there’s a responsibility to the country, you’ll have to perform that…you have got a responsibility to society, you’ll have to perform it, too,” she said.
About BNP’s claim that now there is no scope for independent journalism in the country, the Prime Minister said, “There’s enough freedom for journalism in Bangladesh right now.”
Hasina said sometimes she has to face questions about the scope of journalism in the country due to the opposition’s negative propaganda. “In reply, I tell them if there’s no freedom of press then how they get the scope to speak and how do they come up with these allegations?”
The Prime Minister mentioned that some 750 dailies are currently published across the country in addition to 23-24 television channels and some radio stations.
“After hearing talk shows, can one say there’s no freedom of expression, there’s no freedom of opinion?” she questioned.
On the trend of newspaper owners to become editors, the Prime Minister said journalism sometimes faces hurdle because of this.
Hasina sought cooperation of journalists in projecting the government’s development efforts.
The Prime Minister regretted that Awami League has to do politics with such parties which were born illegally. Getting up from the bed, people saw someone capturing power violating the constitution and declaring himself as the country’s President over radio and TV, she said.
Not only that, they gave the national flag to war criminals, collaborators of the Pakistani occupation forces, killers and rapists of 71, she said questioning how such evil allies can ensure the country’s development, and this is why the country did now see any development for long 21 years since 1975.
She said her government, coming to power in 2009, undertook massive development programmes for the modernisation of the media industry as and the welfare of journalists.
The Prime Minister said the government provided Tk 5 crore as seed money for the Journalists Welfare Trust so that their financial needs could be met whenever they fell victim to any unwanted incidents.
She mentioned that it was her government that has allowed the operation private electronic media in the country, which helped create jobs for many.
Referring to Bangabndhu’s unfinished memoirs, the Prime Minister termed herself as a member the journalist community as Bangabandhu was a correspondent of the Kolkata-based the Daily Ittehad.
Hasina also recalled the chronological historic development of the Jatiya Press Club starting from 1954 saying Bangabandhu himself was involved in different parts of its history.
At the function, Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said the mass media and democracy are synonymous, but anti-democratic elements and terrorists are conspiring against the country.
The Bangabandhu Media Complex will have a cineplex, library, media museum, guesthouse, dormitory, IT room, and garden, with each of its floors having 22,000 sft of space. There will also be a helipad on its rooftop.
Chaired by JPC President Shafiqur Rahman, the function was also addressed, among others, by Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu, PM’s Media Adviser Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, Editors’ Council Chairman Golam Sarwar, JPC General Secretary Quamrul Islam Chowdhury and President of Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul.

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